Free condoms are hardly a new phenomenon in this city. So why has “Operation Guardian Angel,” a group of young people handing out free condoms to the Catholic pilgrims gracing our city, caused such a stir?
As a Christian, I believe that when I see an evil, I become a party to it unless I do what I can to challenge it. Now, “evil” is a fairly subjective term, but few would argue with my assessment that AIDS is a catastrophe. What takes AIDS from “catastrophe” to “evil” in my conscience is this: AIDS is the most preventable disease in the world, with the only things necessary to prevent its spread being condoms and education. However, not only are many people, groups, and governments committing sins of omission by failing to provide as many prevention resources as necessary, particularly to Africa, but some are committing sins of action by actively refusing to provide them. The former is criminal negligence causing death, the latter murder. When I consider that these sins are obviously motivated by the sexualities and races of the victims of AIDS, these murders become hate crimes. The best way I have to challenge this evil is to do what the Church refuses: to provide condoms and education to those who need them. The proof that these young pilgrims need them? How about the young Catholic from Australia on the CBC the other night proclaiming his hope to “get lucky” with the “hot Brazilian girls?”
The Pope has the capacity to end the ignorance of millions of people who do not know why their friends, families, and villages are dying or how to avoid the same fate. Indeed, in many parts of the developing world the Church is the only source of education. And yet it refuses to deliver this simple message: “Condoms can save your life.” Why? Because the Church believes such a message would weaken its other message: chastity. However, even if one accepts this doctrine, why not add, “But if you are tempted, use a condom?” After all, even the Church recognizes that the doctrine of chastity is difficult to follow without fail. How many priests have failed, often at the expense of the innocence of the children in their charge?