A lot of people have written about the
pope’s remarks about
about condoms in Africa and AIDS. Comments that, if heeded, will cause
the death of hundreds or thousands of people.
“It is incorrect to consider condoms as a panacea for AIDS,” the deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told a round table in Moscow on Friday, commenting on the international row concerned with the pope’s statement in Africa.
AIDS can be prevented not by contraceptives but by education and a righteous life, the priest said.
“If a person lives a sinful, aimless and senseless life, uses drugs and is lewd, some disease will kill him one day, neither a condom nor medicine will save him,” Fr. Vsevolod added.
This is typical of the black-and-white, all-or-nothing attitude one
sees so often in religion. Condoms aren’t a total solution, therefore
they shouldn’t be used at all.
Well, guess what? We don’t live in an ideal world. In the real world,
people do have sex with multiple partners, do share needles when
taking illegal drugs, do engage in all manner of unhealthy behavior,
and condoms are a cheap and effective way of reducing the
number of people who die of sexually-transmitted diseases.
BTW, there’s a missing final paragraph in the English version of the
story above. My translation:
“For the most part,” he
opines, “the spread of AIDS can be stopped only by
the moral growth of society, and not through the use of condoms,
single-use needles, or new medical treatments.”
I don’t particularly enjoy wearing a seat belt when I drive. But until
we manage to figure out how to prevent accidents altogether, they help
reduce the number of fatalities. What the Catholic and Orthodox
churches are saying is analogous to saying that people should learn to
drive better instead of wearing seat belts.
There is no total solution. But there are things we can do that help.
As a sysadmin, I run into this all the time. The perfect is the enemy
of the good. All too often, there is no ideal solution, and we have to
settle for something that merely leaves us better than before.