To marry with venereal disease?

If someone had an incurable STD (HIV, genital herpes, genital warts) and got married, what would be the church’s view point on using condoms to protect his/her partner? What if the couple wanted to have children?

ps, While condoms may have limited protection against genital herpes and warts, unprotected sex would cause severe spreading back and forth between the partners which could lead to serious problems.

Dear Slim,

Persons with contagious venereal diseases have no business getting married—period! To do so would be the height of irresponsibility. Marriage is not a right. It is a vocation. One is called to marriage. The final sign that one has a vocation to marriage is similar to the final sign that one has a vocation to religious life. It is the approval of Christ’s Church.

A marriage is not complete until it is consummated. In consummating their wedding vows the husband and wife verify the unconditional “I do”of their wedding vows by means of their bodies. Every time they have such intercourse, they verify their sacramental union.

To contracept is to deny the “I do”. There is no unconditional act of love in contraception. It is the conditioning of the act so that the act is closed to the possibility of creating new life. It is limited to taking pleasure. It transforms an unconditional act of love to a conditional act of selfishness.

No one has the right to afflict a spouse with desease, let alone afflict future children!

I would suggest that you read: “Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West. It is available through our on-line catalogue or through our toll-free order number: 888 291 8000.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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