Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Is the Pope Responsible for the AIDS Crisis in Africa?


I have read much in the past couple of weeks about how John Paul II's biggest failure, and Benedict XVI's soon-to-be biggest failure ('cause he's an evil Nazi, you know) is complicity in the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Strange how many people think that the Catholic church should stop preaching abstinence and that any other course of action (e.g. not encouraging the use of condoms) is an abandonment of people with, or with a high potential to get, AIDS. On the contrary, I'd be willing to bet that there is no more active institution engaged in the treatment of the disease in third world areas than Catholic charities and hospitals. The Church preaches what is its doctrine. People make their own choices. People also make mistakes and they pay for them. Happens to everyone. In Africa, and throughout the world, the Church is usually there to deal with the aftermath of poor decision-making. At the same time, however, it is there to encourage good decision-making in accordance with the teachings of the faith. No less can be expected of a religious institution.

It's not the pope's job to give an out to those engaging in acts contrary to Church doctrine in order to lessen the consequences of risky behavior. If the pope started closing the hospitals and recalling the priests, nuns, and aid workers, then I think the critics would have an argument. Until then, I think the pope should continue to advise people on how they should live their lives in Christ, and let the people, through their free will and actions, decide whether they think it is advice worth listening to. The consequences are admittedly grave, but what moral decision doesn't come with potential adversity?

Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus physically restrain a person from acting or advise a follower to take an action adverse to his teachings, regardless of the potentially good outcome. In every instance, Jesus advised the people to follow Him, but admonished them to consider the implications of their free actions. Jesus healed and comforted the sick, but He did not intervene to prevent people from making fateful decisions. Much like the Jesus, the pope is our spiritual leader on this earth. He will give us advice, and it is ours to accept or decline. But regardless of the decisions we make, I fully believe the Church is always ready to forgive and ready to treat us with compassion.


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