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Card. Georges Cottier, Papal Theologian, Approves
the use of Condoms Against AIDS

It used to be that the barrier against the use of the condom relied on the unanimious opposition of the teaching of the Church. Until two years ago, only the avant-guarde progressivists defended the use of this contraceptive. However, some holes have appeared in that formerly leak-proof dam.

In January 2004, Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Brussels suggested that the use of condoms might be a "lesser evil" to the spread of AIDS.

In January 2005, a spokesman for the Spanish Episcopal Conference said that condoms have a legitimate role to play in the fight against the disease.

In February 2005, Cardinal Georges Cottier, the theologian of the Pope, stated that prophylactics could be used to contain the spread of AIDS.

These three statements certainly broke the unanimity of the past teaching on the topic.

Once broken, virtual free reign is given to use the condom under the pretext that one is in near or far danger of contagion. A man who would reason as such could well argue that he is just following the orientation of an Episcopal Conference and two Cardinals, one of them the personal theologian of John Paul II.

In this post-Vatican II era, almost no religious authority reminds the faithful that the use of contraceptives was condemned by the Catholic Church as a type of Onanism, a name taken from the action of Onan in the Old Testament who in conjugal relations with his wife used to prevent conception from taking place. For this reason, his action was considered "detestable," and "wherefore God slew him also" (Gen 38:9-10).

In the pontificate of Pius XII, the famous moralist Cardinal Francesco Roberti summarized the teaching of the Church on the topic:
Onanism  -  1. Concept - Theologians normally use this term referring to the conjugal act in which conception is deliberately frustraded; it takes its name from the sin of Onan recorded in Holy Scripture. Later, it was also called Neo-Malthusianism, from the name of the sociologist Malthus. Many have also assigned this term to voluntary pollution [masturbation].

2.  Conjugal Onanism and its Moral Qualification - Conjugal Onanism can be committed either in a natural way, interrupting the conjugal act and completing it individually, or in an artificial way, using contraceptive means that avoid the transmission of the semen.

In whatever means it is practiced, conjugal Onanism is gravely illicit, since this behavior violates the natural laws that regulate and complete the conjugal act. For this reason the Church justly condemns it.

(Diccionario de Teologia Moral, F. Roberti, Barcelona: ELESA, 1960, entry Onanismo).
Below, we reproduce a facsimile of the article transcribing Cottier's statements. It was published in Catholic World News, February 1, 2005.

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Posted on October 29, 2005

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