Response to an Erroneous Interpretation of "Prophylactics or Family Values?"

Author: Fr Jacques Suaudeau


Fr Jacques Suaudeau

With regard to the article "Prophylactics or family values? Stopping the spread of HIVIAIDS", which I published in the Italian daily edition of L'Osservatore Romano on Wednesday, 5 April 2000, p. 7, and in the English edition of 19 April 2000, there have been certain erroneous interpretations concerning the following passage:

"In the case of Thailand, the effort of the health-care authorities was focused on prostitutes and their clients. The use of condoms had particularly good results for these people with regard to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.22 However it is unclear whether or not the promotion of condoms in this country has had an effect on the overall advance of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.23 The use of prophylactics in these circumstances is actually a 'lesser evil', but it cannot be proposed as a model of humanization and development. Perhaps Thailand's authorities might have asked themselves first about the reasons for the particular growth of prostitution in their country".

22 R. S. Hanenberg, W. Rojanapithayakorn, P. M. Kunasol, D. C. Sokal, "Impact of Thailand's HIV-Control Programme as Indicated by the Decline of Sexually Transmitted Diseases", The Lancet 1994, 344 (8917):243-245.

23 J. Richens, J. Imrie, A. Copas, "Condoms and Seat Belts", ibid., p. 401.

The following should be clearly pointed out:

1. Any interpretation of my article as claiming to attempt to cast doubt on the Church's official teaching on this point has absolutely no foundation. I have already published many articles in this regard against the use of condoms in the prevention of HIV/AIDS in scientific and moral publications which can attest, beyond any doubt, to my attitude on this issue, on which I have been working for many years.

2. The use of condoms, as I state in my article, "cannot be proposed as a model of humanization and development", because it is always an intrinsic objective moral disorder.

3. The expression "lesser evil" (in inverted commas), was used in the strictly medical sense of public health, in the context of the epidemiological medical articles quoted in notes n. 22 and n. 23, and must consequently be understood not in the moral sense, but exclusively in an epidemiological sense.

Rome, 22 September 2000

Fr Jacques Suaudeau

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
27 September 2000, page 2

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