Belgian cardinal says condom may be "lesser evil"

Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Brussels said that the use of a condom might be a "lesser evil" when it could preserve someone from a deadly disease like AIDS.

Catholic World News reports that in an interview with a Belgian journal, the Cardinal said that it is legitimate for government to establish laws that differ from those of the Church on questions such as same-sex unions, prostitution, and contraception.

Questioned on the use of condoms, Cardinal Danneels said that if an HIV-positive man wishes to have relations with his wife, "she should make him use a condom." Otherwise, he said, the couple might be "adding another sin: homicide."

The Cardinal reasoned: "A condom, when it is used for the protection of life, is not only a matter in the sexual domain."

In the interview, the Cardinal also said that he would not accept a civil union between members of the same sex as a marriage but accept that civil law will not be completely in accord with his ethical judgement.

"I can accept that civil legislation determines the conditions for cohabitation and the rights of homosexual couples," Cardinal Danneels said.

But he qualifies: "If the term 'marriage' covers all forms of cohabitation - between a man and woman the same as between man and man - then the word no longer has any meaning". He suggested the use of another term to describe same-sex unions.

Cardinal Daneels made a similar statement in a television interview in January 2004. Other influential prelates have adopted similar positions, suggesting that condom use could be justified within marriage to prevent transmission of AIDS.

In January 2005, Cardinal Georges Cottier, the theologian to the papal household, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that condom use "could be considered legitimate" under those restricted circumstances.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is reportedly studying the question of whether condoms might be used within marriage to prevent disease.

Belgian cardinal says condom may be "lesser evil" (Catholic World News 10/3/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Godfried Cardinal Danneels (catholic-hierarchy.org)

Cardinal Danneels says Pope's health "seriously weakened" (CathNews 17/8/04)
Belgian Cardinal's women clergy comments reported (CathNews 8/9/03)

Argentine bishops urge fidelity as remedy for AIDS (Catholic World News 8/3/06)
Church helps HIV+ people to live normal life (AsiaNews.it 4/3/06)
Priest and Bollywood combat Aids (The Tablet 25/2/06)
Bill Gates supporting Sant'Egidio AIDS program (Kath.net 21/2/06)

13 Mar 2006