Contraception for discordant couples


#1

First of all I would like to apologise if I have started this thread in the wrong forum.

My friend who is a Catholic and is getting married to a Catholic, asked me a question which I couldn't answer. She wanted to know what the Church's position was regarding contraception (condom use), if one of the spouses was HIV positive and the other HIV negative (discordant couples)?

I thank all of you for the enlightening posts you always make, that help us to grow spiritually.


#2

I remember hearing a nun who had worked many years in Uganda respond to a similar question, her question was not so much based on official church teaching (which does not allow the use of condoms) but was instead pragmatic. Firstly the situation almost never arises, by the time one partner is aware the he or she is infected, the other almost invariably has already been infected. Secondly, if this is not the case, what loving partner would expose their loved ones to the very real risk of contracting the virus despite the use of condoms? In such a situation, the only recourse is for the couple to live out their marriage vows in chastity. To deliberately engage in sexual intercourse at the very real risk of infecting another with a deadly disease, would be gravely immoral, with or without the use of a condom. Common sense would say that if, despite knowing that their action was gravely immoral, the couple decided to have intercourse anyway (and by no means encouraging or condoning such an action), the use of a condom is the lesser of two evils (between condom use and deliberate infection of another), but as I said the ONLY moral approach is to refrain from intercourse.


#3

This exactly. What kind of love would that be to expose the beloved to a deadly disease?


#4

I remember reading that the annual failure rate of condoms for HIV transmission is 31%. In other words, 31% of people in such discordant couples will end up infected after one year of sexual activity.

Now, let's imagine this. You apply for a job, and your prospective employer tells you that statistically, 31% of the employees doing this job suffer a serious accident every year. Would you take that job?


#5

My personal opinion, I would not go through with the marriage. Marriage is for better or for worse. If after being married, you finding out one person is infected that is on thing. But they are not married yet and it is OK to break it off.

If for example, the person caught the disease by having premariatal sex. They can go to confession and receive absolution an repent in their heart. God is forgiving. But it doesn’t change the fact that they are infected and humans can not judge them, but they do not have to inconvenience themselves either.

Just my 2 cents

CM


#6

Lets look at it from this standpoint - lets say a male (b/c in the case I mention here it would have to be physically) knew he could not have an erection yet went through with a marriage anyway knowing he would never be able to consummate it - that would be an invalid marriage.

In this case we have two people that cannot consummate marriage without being closed children or risking once spouse exposure to a deadly disease. Does anyone see my parallel????

I am no Canon Lawyer but maybe the Father on here could comment better on this.


#7

I agree with the other posters that the couple should talk to a canon lawyer before proceeding because it sounds like they might not be able to have a valid marriage. They would not be able to be open to life without risking the death of the uninfected person. Condom use is always a sin, and they have been shown to NOT protect against AIDS very well at all. They only give a false sense of security. That’s why the only African country to have succesfully lowered their AIDS infection rate (Uganda) did so through promoting abstinence rather than passing out condoms like candy on Halloween.
If this couple consumated their marriage with a condom the uninfected person will statistically end up with AIDS too within three years. Without a condom it could be a matter of weeks.


#8

A person who is unmarried and HIV positive should remain celibate.

If they made the imprudent decision to marry, and found a priest who would actually do so and found a person who would actual contemplate marrying them and having intercourse with them, the answer is the same as for every other person: contraception is an **intrinsic evil **and can **never **be used.


#9

The person in the OP’s scenario does not suffer from impotence. It is impotence that is a canonical impediment to marriage. In this situation they have the **ability **to consummate. Choosing not to consummate does not invalidate marriage. A non consummated marriage is valid, but not indissoluable. It can be dissolved by the Pope.


#10

[quote="1ke, post:9, topic:217936"]
The person in the OP's scenario does not suffer from impotence. It is impotence that is a canonical impediment to marriage. In this situation they have the ability **to consummate. Choosing not to consummate does not invalidate marriage. A non consummated marriage is **valid, but not indissoluable. It can be dissolved by the Pope.

[/quote]

I understand the OP is not impotent - I was drawing a parallel. The ability to consummate is only there if the other spouse is willing to a) risk his/her life and the life of future children most likely leaving them parentless and/or b) not be open to life in the marriage or c) enter a Josephite marriage.

In the case of a Josephite marriage I would think there would be an issue created by the fact that the marriage can only stay unconssumated as long as both spouses are in agreement to this.

I think there are many complications to this Canonically and it should be discussed with a priest or possibly someone very well versed in Canon Law but not on an internet forum.


#11

Condoms are NOT an effective means of preventing HIV. Condoms are allowed to have some holes and they can be as much as several times the size of the HIV virus before they are not considered acceptable for distribution. The idea that condoms are the way to go in the prevention of aids is a very politically charged one and that is generally why no one discusses the fact that they are not really as effective in preventing HIV as one would think.

If condoms were so great at preventing HIV you would think we would see a near eradication or at least much lower rates of HIV given the fact that you can get free condoms just about everywhere there is a health clinic.


#12

Hi all,

I agree that if the couple were unmarried, they should not (and could not) marry. I am not sure about the impotence angle (although I see the parallel), that would need to be directed to a canon lawyer, however one cannot validly marry with the intention to withhold the conjugal life. If something happens afterwards which prevent intercourse, then the couple have the requirement to persevere in their marriage, but if it is known beforehand then the marriage would be invalid.

God Bless.


#13

Thank you all for your replies, though I get a feeling that some of you didn't get the question properly. My friend wanted to know what the church's position would be regarding contraception (condom use), if an already married couple found that one of them is HIV negative and the other HIV positive? This happens due to various reasons. Iam actually posting from Uganda, and this issue is hard to explain to Ugandans, especially those who disagree with the Church position on contraception. The Uganda government has promoted the ABC strategy to fight AIDS. A stands for Abstinence, B for being faithful and C for condom use.


#14

[quote="Mikel12, post:13, topic:217936"]
Thank you all for your replies, though I get a feeling that some of you didn't get the question properly. My friend wanted to know what the church's position would be regarding contraception (condom use), if an already married couple found that one of them is HIV negative and the other HIV positive? This happens due to various reasons. Iam actually posting from Uganda, and this issue is hard to explain to Ugandans, especially those who disagree with the Church position on contraception. The Uganda government has promoted the ABC strategy to fight AIDS. A stands for Abstinence, B for being faithful and C for condom use.

[/quote]

No, Mikel, we all get the question properly. The answer is that the Church's position is that contraception is immoral in all circumstances. Once one of the spouses finds out that he or she is HIV positive, then that person must tell the spouse and they must refrain from sex from there on out. How can a person who loves their spouse even consider taking any actions that would cause the possibility of the spouse of contracting an incurable disease?


#15

:thumbsup:


#16

Thank you. I wanted to know if there was any other angle I hadn’t exhausted regarding this situation. I will give a feedback


#17

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