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Posts Tagged ‘Condoms’

Guess that it was bound to happen.
Was just a matter of time.
But now I’ve come to my decision,
And it’s one of the painful kind.
‘Cause now it seems that you wanted a martyr.
Just a regular guy wouldn’t do.
But baby I can’t hang upon no lover’s cross for you.
~ Jim Croce

This sweet, sad lyric by Jim Croce may well be the new anthem in the sexual revolution, as word comes recently from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that strains of Gonorhhea that are resistant to all antibiotics have now emerged. Get all of the details in the link. From the report:

In the July 8, 2011 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers analyzed gonorrhea surveillance data and concluded that, although there have been no documented treatment failures yet, untreatable gonorrhea may become a reality in the U.S.

Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can have serious health consequences, including infertility in women, and can increase a person’s risk for acquiring HIV. Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. While antibiotics can successfully treat gonorrhea, over time thebacteria has developed resistance to several of these drugs, including sulfonamides,penicillin, tetracycline, and most recently, in 2007, fluoroquinolones. CDC now recommends only one class of antibiotics, called cephalosporins — consisting of the drugs cefixime (administered orally) or ceftriaxone (administered via injection) — together with another antibiotic, either azithromycin or doxycycline. However, findings from the recent analysis signal the potential for resistance to cephalosporins, the last line of defense for treating gonorrhea.

Now, in plain English, here’s what’s going on. CDC has a surveillance project where they collect gonorrhea samples at 30 clinics throughout the U.S. and send the bacteria to the lab for analysis. They look for the smallest dose of antibiotic needed to inhibit the growth of the bacteria. This is called the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC), as it is the minimum concentration needed to inhibit growth.

Now, as bacteria develop resistance over time from intermediate to severe resistance, the amount of drug needed to inhibit their growth rises. So larger doses of drug are needed. We call this decreased susceptibility So, as susceptibility decreases, MIC of the drug increases.

What has been discovered is that there are now strains of gonorrhea on the West Coast of the U.S. that are increasingly resistant to the last line of defense antibiotics:

And while the numbers were small, researchers observed an increase in the percentage of cases that crossed this threshold in recent years — from 0.02 percent for 2000–2006
to 0.11 percent for 2009–2010. Of note, all of the isolates with decreased susceptibility to cefixime were collected from gay or bisexual men.

Patterns of elevated MICs were most prominent in samples collected in the western United States, and among gay and bisexual men:

Western regions: For cefixime, the proportion of samples from the West with elevated MICs rose from zero percent in 2000 to 3.3 percent in 2010. Significant increases in the proportion of isolates with elevated MICs were noted in Hawaii (from 0 to 7.7 percent) and California (from 0 to 4.5 percent) between 2000 and 2010. Smaller, but still significant, increases were seen for ceftriaxone in the same time period in
the west: the percentage of isolates with elevated MICs rose from zero to 0.5 percent.

Men who have sex with men (MSM): For cefixime, the proportion of isolates with elevated MICs rose from zero to 4 percent between 2000 and 2010; for ceftriaxone, the proportion of isolates with elevated MICs rose from zero to 0.9 percent.

These numbers may seem rather small, but already in other parts of the world, we now have gonorrhea that is entirely antibiotic resistant. HIV gained a foothold in the gay community by stealth, and the same is true with gonorrhea, as less than half of all cases are believed to be reported in the US, annually.

To make matters worse, gonorrhea has often been regarded by folks as no big deal, as antibiotics can clear it up. However, while some may take days to weeks to manifest symptoms, many people never manifest symptoms for months. Left untreated, this disease is quite destructive, and even deadly. From CDC:

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.

In women, gonorrhea is a common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). About 750,000 women each year in the United States develop PID. The symptoms may be quite mild or can be very severe and can include abdominal pain and fever. PID can lead to internal abscesses (pus-filled “pockets” that are hard to cure) and long-lasting, chronic pelvic pain. PID can damage the fallopian tubes enough to cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.

In men, gonorrhea can cause epididymitis, a painful condition of the ducts attached to the testicles that may lead to infertility if left untreated.

Gonorrhea can spread to the blood or joints. This condition can be life threatening. In addition, people with gonorrhea can more easily contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV-infected people with gonorrhea can transmit HIV more easily to someone else than if they did not have gonorrhea.

This is a public health disaster in the making. We can’t just come up with new antibiotics, as the economic pressures are against antibiotic development. It costs over $800 Million to discover, purify, lab test, animal test, and go through FDA Phase I, II, III human trials, mass produce and market an antibiotic. The process takes about ten years, on average, using 10 of the 18 years on the drug’s patent. That only leaves about 8-9 years for the company to recoup their costs and turn a profit before the patent expires. Unlike most other medications which people take daily for life, antibiotics are only taken for 7-10 days. The profit incentive is just not there.

Worse still for gays is the coupling of increased resistance to antibiotics with the steady rise of gonorrhea in the community of men having sex with men, as the following CDC slide indicates:

Figure Y. Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP)—Percentage of Urethral Neisseria gonorrhoeae Isolates Obtained From MSM* Attending STD* Clinics, 1990–2009

Cardinal O’Connor was fond of saying that good morality is good medicine. He was crucified for it in the media. Gays, Bisexuals, and then promiscuous heterosexuals are about to hang upon their own lover’s crosses unless they wake up and realize that condoms just don’t work.

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This photoshopped picture, swiped from a hate-filled site, is actually quite the catechetical tool in light of the recent dust-up on the Pope’s comments about condoms.

New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan said something rarely uttered in public during an interview published on November 22 in the New York Times. From the article, which can be read here:

“The Pope didn’t say, ‘Oh good, you should use a condom,’ ” Archbishop Dolan said, referring to a controversial comment the pope made in a book that is being released worldwide on Tuesday.

In the book, the pope said that a male prostitute who used a condom to prevent the spread of AIDS might be taking a first step toward moral responsibility. Some Catholic analysts claimed that the pope was floating a possible exception in the church’s ban on birth control. But Archbishop Dolan said the church could not simply change its doctrine.

“You get the impression that the Holy See or the pope is like Congress and every once in a while says, ‘Oh, let’s change this law,’ ” he said. “We can’t.”

Those last two words hang in the air, pregnant in their implication.

“We Can’t”.

In truth, bishops are bound, not free, as Paul alluded to in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4:1-6.

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

A prisoner for the Lord. ONE Lord. ONE Faith. ONE Baptism.

The moral law comes from God, not man. That is why the Pope speaks infallibly in matters of Faith and Morals, because as the Apostle Paul tells us, there is but ONE Faith. The Pope speaks infallibly when he speaks as the voice of the Apostolic Successors (the Bishops) on a topic dealing with faith and morals. Their job is to hand on the faith that was revealed to them. Consider some of the admonitions of the Apostle Paul to one of the first of the Apostolic Successors, the young Bishop Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:13-14

” 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

1 Timothy 1:3-4

” 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.”

1 Timothy 4:11-16

“11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

1 Timothy 6:20-21

” 20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.”

2 Timothy 1:6-7

“6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”

2 Timothy 4:1-5

” 1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

They are bound, not free.

“We Can’t.” are two of the most truthful, humble, and powerful words ever spoken by a Bishop. Prisoners for the Lord.

So long as they remain bound, we are authentically free.

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Many have written asking for my take on the Pope’s comments about condom usage. I cannot, and will not comment on the moral dimensions of this issue as regards the use of condoms in light of Humanae Vitae. However, I think there is a scientfic dimension that has been overlooked here, and that dimension yields to a larger moral dimension.

Over at Deacon Greg Kandra’s blog, Reverend E.J. Cappelletti writes the following on this subject:

“I was ordained in 1950. The teaching at that time was quite clear on this matter. It is a case of double effect. If an action has two effects one good and one bad, provided that one does not will the bad effect, he or she is free to choose the good effect.

“Using a condom to avoid infecting a spouse is a good effect, preventing conception is the morally bad effect. One is free to choose the good effect.”

My response to Rev. Cappelletti:

The problem that I have with all of this is that the Pope is speaking on a more academic plane. The reality of condoms is that they have a 15% failure rate during typical use, as opposed to ideal use. This failure rate is established for use in married couples as evidenced by pregnancy as the definition of failure, and is contained within the textbook: Contraceptive Technology, which is the family planner’s bible.

With that number, 80% of all couples using condoms as their sole means of contracepting will conceive within ten years.

Now, this failure rate is established for pregnancy, which involves a five day window out of a 30 day month. Condom failures take place on the other 25 days, but are not included in the failure rate, because pregnancy is being used as the indicator of failure.

Even when having sex without any contraception at all, on an every-other-day basis, people have only a 15% chance of conceiving. So the truth of the matter is that condoms have a much, much, higher failure rate than 15% during typical use. In dealing with the transmissibility of HIV, this is catastrophic.

Improper storage temperatures during shipping and handling in summer and winter weaken the structural integrity of the latex, with the consumer having no way of verifying how well the condoms have been handled. The list of issues is endless.

So when the Holy Father spoke, his commentary didn’t seem to include the issues surrounding condom integrity and failure rate. Quite frankly, I’m alarmed at the Pandora’s box that has been opened. In light of the failure rates of condoms, the ONLY loving response on the part of the HIV+ person is to refrain from sex for the rest of that individual’s life. No loving person would take the chance of endangering the life of another.

My wife is a nurse and I am a medical microbiologist and this issue was vetted fully when we were engaged. We both agreed that if either of us ever contracted HIV during an occupational exposure that we would never again have sex, and that our abstinence would be the highest expression of intimacy and authentic love.

We stand by that today, eighteen years later. This has nothing to do with double-effect. This is about learning sacrificial love by dying to self so that others might live.

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The events of the past weeks demonstrate with the greatest clarity that Planned Parenthood stands at the root of much of the evil in the world today. The Categories panel of this blog is brimming with articles detailing the extent of this malignant organization’s eugenic and racist agenda conceived and brought to life by its founder, Margaret Sanger. It details the failure of condoms using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own data and ‘Fact Sheet’.

The oral contraceptives handed out like candy by this group were developed and financed by Sanger’s last husband’s millions. These drugs have caused breast cancers in the millions, a fact not at all disputed by CDC and NIH data. Then there is the hot denial of the scientific data linking abortion and breast cancer, detailed in the articles on breast cancer.

This group has made deep inroads into the Girl Scouts of America’s various Councils, targeting children as young as ten years old, by their own admission. See the articles containing the links to Planned Parenthood’s targeting of children in the Sex Education link under Categories.

As in all of politics, follow the money. If one wishes to know why PP has set its sights on children down to 10 years old, read this article as well as this article.

It has taken months of effort, and Coming Home has merely scratched the surface. More in the months and years ahead, God willing.

Planned Parenthood targets children and encourages open rebellion against their parent’s morality, referring to it as ‘taboos’. The refer to sex as ‘sex play’, stripping it of its conjugal mystery and dignity, dehumanizing our children in the process. PP continues to push condoms, though CDC admits that they do not protect against many diseases at all, and marginally against most others.

One fourth of girls between 14-19 years-old in America has at least one sexually transmitted disease (STD). Among African American Girls, that rises to a staggering 48% !!

But then, we know from Sanger’s writings, linked to above, that she targeted Blacks for her special eugenic ministrations. Today, PP operates close to 80% of its ‘clinics’ in inner city neighborhoods. Blacks, while ~11% of the U.S. population, have 37% of the abortions. The explosive documentary Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America, by Life Dynamics, tells the entire tale in well-documented fashion, and is a must see. Here is the trailer:

Were all that not enough, PP has been the driving force behind third world abortions since the 1950’s, with 1.8 BILLION abortions worldwide over the past 50 years.

We have their playbook. We have the evidence of how craven they truly are in their shrill opposition to the Tim Tebow add .

They are rejoicing this week. Countries see a 25% increase in abortions when the government pays for them. That’s good business for PP. However, the scientific truth is out there and can no longer be suppressed.

From STD-riddled children and young adults, HIV from failed condoms and increased promiscuity built on the foundation of PP lies, to 1.8 BILLION abortions and their gynecologic and psychiatric sequellae, to porn addiction and loss of capacity for intimacy, to breast cancer from OC’s and abortions, to a war against girls through selective abortions and hundreds of millions of young men without a sufficient pool of women for spousal relationships, to a burgeoning sex-slavery trade from such shortages of marriageable women, to millions of cervical cancers from HPV which CDC says condoms can’t protect against;

These merchants of misery have seen their high water mark in the health care vote. This was their finest hour. At Gettysburg, a monument exists where Pickett’s Charge was turned back. A sign explains that this was the furthest point of advance of the Confederacy into Union territory, it’s “high water mark”. This vote will be such a monument for PP. They have advanced as far as they ever will, and have done so just as we are massing our artillery of scientific truth and special forces units of pro-life advocacy groups in all areas.

We will turn their flank and destroy them in detail.

Armed with the truth of science, guided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, united in love for the goodness of God’s creation, communicating in a world-wide unfiltered medium, we will lose this war only if we surrender the field. So, let’s put aside the feelings of betrayal and dismay. We lost a skirmish in a battle this week. In less than two weeks, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, which has already determined the outcome of this war.

Each of us must take this information and disseminate it to all who will listen. Feel free to copy and distribute anything here on this site. I only ask that my name and Coming Home, along with the web address be printed somewhere on the material, so others may find their way to the entire library being assembled here.

For my part, I am resuming my public speaking schedule and can be reached via email in the contact section. I am using all of my training in science, dedicating the rest of my life’s work to this task of restoring the dignity, the mental and physical, spiritual and communal health of so many that have been savaged by Margaret Sanger and her disciples. We have our work cut out for us.

We take renewed strength today from the words of Saint John the Apostle:

“Greater Is He that is in you {the Holy Spirit of God} than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

and from the Prophet Isaiah 40: 28-31:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary,
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.”

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WARNING: GRAPHIC AND SEXUALLY EXPLICIT

FOX NEWS reports on a new initiative by Planned Parenthood to target children as young as ten years old for teaching the pleasures of sex. The initiative, Stand and Deliver is linked here.

From the Fox Report:

The report, “Stand and Deliver,” charges that religious groups, specifically Catholics and Muslims, deny their young access to comprehensive sexual programs and education.

“Young people’s sexuality is still contentious for many religious institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups — the Catholic Church and madrasas (Islamic Schools) for example — have imposed tremendous barriers that prevent young people, particularly, from obtaining information and services related to sex and reproduction. Currently, many religious teachings deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex.” the report states.

The report demands that children 10 and older be given a “comprehensive sexuality education” by governments, aid organizations and other groups, and that young people should be seen as “sexual beings.”

“Young people have the right to be informed about sexuality and to have access to contraceptives and other services,” Bert Koenders, the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, wrote in the foreword to the report. It was his organization that helped fund the report.

The report argues that sex education should be “recast” to show sexuality as a “positive force for change and development, as a source of pleasure, an embodiment of human rights and an expression of self.”

Much like a U.N. report released last August that advocated teaching masturbation to children as young as 5, “Stand and Deliver” has set off a wave of protest among religious and conservative groups.

Ed Mechmann, spokesman for New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, charged that Planned Parenthood was “trying to teach children sex without values and that sex is a matter of pleasure and done without consequences.”

He said religions like Catholicism and Islam teach sex as part of a much bigger picture and that Planned Parenthood was trying to de-link sex from traditional values.

“It is part of an effort to get children to reject traditional values and accept a liberal American-European view,” he said. “In many traditional countries — Catholic and Muslim — it won’t work and should be seen as cultural imperialism.”

Mechmann also charged that Planned Parenthood’s report was compromised because it has a financial stake advocating the changes. “The difference between Planned Parenthood and us is that we don’t make money off what we teach and say. They do. They make money off contraceptives and abortions,” he said.

Well said Ed Mechman. There are dire consequences for young people. Condoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, simply do not work. Consider the following CDC data:

The graphs below come from CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance, 2008, with the exception of the HIV data, which is also CDC data available here. For purposes of classification, I have divided these diseases into two groups: A & B. This division is entirely my own and not a CDC classification scheme.

GROUP A DISEASES

Number of AIDS cases, AIDS deaths, and people living with AIDS, 1985-2004, United States (CDC, n.d.a)

Chlamydia

Genital Warts (HPV) Initial Visits to Doctor's Office

Herpes Simplex Virus

Trichomoniasis and Other Vaginitis


.
.

GROUP B DISEASES

Chancroid

Syphilis

Gonorrhea


.
.

Explaining the Data

In making sense out of these data, they have been divided into two groups based upon some shared characteristics.

Group A data all show the incidence of disease trending steadily upward. These diseases also share another common characteristic. They all possess the capacity to remain ‘silent’, or asymptomatic in a large percentage of their victims.

HIV Less than half of infected people develop a conversion reaction with its flu-like symptoms.
Trichomonas Though curable with drugs, up to 1/3 of women are asymptomatic carriers.
Human Papilloma Virus (Genital Warts) 60% chance of infection with one contact. Up to 1/3 women remain asymptomatic.
Genital Herpes 80%-90% of people fail to recognize symptoms or have no symptoms at all. They may still shed the virus.
Chlamydia 70%-80% of women have no symptoms. 25%-50% of men have no symptoms.

HPV and Herpes are contact transmission infections. Any exposed skin on the penis not covered by the condom, or on the labia contacting exposed penile skin with condom use, can become infected with a single act of intercourse. These diseases are also spread by oral-genital transmission.

The prevalence line in the HIV graph indicates the number of people living with HIV. As is evident, the rate continues to soar.

The question needs to be asked, with the explosion in condom usage and sales over the past 25 years, why the steady rise in these STI’s? Chlamydia experts believe that the rise in the graph is the result of a combination of better testing methods and mandatory reporting that didn’t come about until the late 1990’s. While that’s understandable, the basal level of infection was not always this high in the population.

Indeed, the graphs all indicate that prior to 1968, the disease rates, even in diseases that had mandatory reporting were extremely low. The graphs tell the sad story of the sexual revolution that really got going with the widespread availability of the pill in the late 1960’s.

This soaring rate of STI’s and STD’s can be explained by the condom bible. Consider an excerpt from the following book available to be read online:

Case Against Condoms: Death by Latex
By Brian Clowes, PhD
Director of Research Worldwide
Human Life International

The book Contraceptive Technology is the most authoritative source of information on all methods of birth control in the world today. This two-inch thick book is often referred to as the “family planner’s bible,” and is revised every few years in order to include updated information. The latest edition was published in 2004, and it is considered by family planners to be the “last word” on all matters contraceptive…

According to Contraceptive Technology, the condom’s user effectiveness rate is 85 percent [9]. This means that, under real-world conditions, a woman whose sexual partners use condoms for every act of sexual intercourse has a 15 percent chance of becoming pregnant in a year.
Figure 2 shows the chances of pregnancy for a woman whose sexual partners faithfully use condoms for 83 average annual instances of sexual intercourse.[10]
Keep in mind that these are the lowest rates that can generally be expected, since they assume 100% condom usage.

Figure 2
Probability of Pregnancy Over Time for Women Whose Sexual Partners Always Use Condoms

1 year 15 percent
2 years 28 percent
3 years 39 percent
4 years 48 percent
5 years 56 percent
10 years 80 percent

It must be stressed that these are probabilities for pregnancy, which can only occur one week per month. Slippage and breakage happen the other three weeks out of the month as well.

How then do we explain the data in Group B? Why the decline?

These diseases manifest immediately, and in the case of gonorrhea and chancroid, painfully. People seek medical treatment immediately, as all three of these diseases are curable with antibiotics. Not so for the viral diseases in Group A. There are no silent infections in Group B to enable transmission between a series of unsuspecting partners. Note too that the infections in gonorrhea and chancroid declined precipitously only at the outset of the HIV pandemic in the mid-late 1980’s. That’s when public health officers required names of partners in order to go out into the community and dry up the reservoir of pathogens. The same for syphilis.

In Group A, because the infections remain asymptomatic in so many for so long, the diseases are able to be transmitted unchecked. Unlike the pathogens in Group B, it’s next to impossible to dry up the reservoir of Trichomonas and Chlamydia because they lurk silently for months to years. The viral diseases HIV and Herpes cannot be eliminated, only held in check. To a good extent, HPV resolves spontaneously in most people, but not before being transmitted.

If condoms were so effective and could be rightly credited for the declines seen in group B, then we would have seen declines in Group A pathogens, minimally Chlamydia and Trichomonas, as well.

Some might argue that there is simply an increase in the number of young people having sex without condoms. Certainly some of these increases in Group A can rightly be attributed to this. Even stipulating this point does not diminish the 15% condom failure rate detailed above, nor does it obviate the fact that condoms do not cover the entire penis, hence not protecting against the spread of HPV and Herpes. The false sense of security leads people to engage in more frequent sex, often with several partners either at once or serially, leading to a greater probability of disease transmission through skin contact, oral sex, or catastrophic condom failure.

Finally, there is CDC’s own Fact Sheet on the Male Latex Condom for Public Health Personnel.

“Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, consistent and correct use of latex condoms reduces the risk of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including diseases transmitted by genital secretions, and to a lesser degree, genital ulcer diseases. Condom use may reduce the risk for genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and HPV-associated diseases, e.g., genital warts and cervical cancer.”

Finally consider this statement from the fact sheet:

“The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”

It seems very much like a variant expression of traditional morality, which is abstinence before and fidelity in marriage.

CDC gives no guarantees beyond that, and very little encouragement in the way of condom safety.

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John Cardinal O'Connor

WARNING: The subject matter in this post deals candidly with sexually transmitted infections and diseases and their modes of transmission. Minors and persons easily upset by the nature of such discussion are advised to skip over this post.

Cretins. No other word better encompasses those who set their sights on John Cardinal O’Connor and the American Catholic Hierarchy for their refusal to advocate condom usage as a means of attenuating the impact of HIV/AIDS, especially in light of the steady news stories published in The New York Times during those years. What other word encompasses a whole movement of people who reject Apostolic Authority, distort the plain meaning of the Scriptural injunctions against homosexual and extramarital sex, and then disrupt Mass and desecrate the Blessed Sacrament and a cathedral all because the Apostolic Successors would not bend to their will?

What word better encompasses a group who divested themselves and their community of any personal responsibility for their sexual behavior and its consequences, projecting onto Rome all culpability? Narcissist describes a great deal, but is insufficient when one considers the venom spit at the Church.

As has been demonstrated conclusively in Part I, Part II and Part III, these people had it wrong. Terribly wrong. Tragically wrong. In the early days of the pandemic, gays were being told to lubricate their condoms to facilitate intercourse and reduce strain on the condom which might cause rupture.

Then they figured out that petroleum jellies dissolved the latex, presumably after more disease was transmitted through those condom ruptures.

Then, unthinking, untrained and uncritical activists led the charge for using nonoxynol-9 (N-9), the spermicide that was shown to kill HIV in test tubes (In high doses, a fact they missed), as a lubricant to back up condom efficay, should the condom slip or tear. For whatever reason, it wouldn’t be until several years later that N-9 would be shown to be completely ineffective against the virus in the low concentration used on condoms, and causes ulcerations in the vaginal and rectal mucosa, actually facilitating HIV transmission in case of condom failure.

Were all of that not enough, Part III presented CDC’s own data on condom ineffectiveness.

Seldom in the history of medicine has a movement been so vocal, so organized, and so catastrophically wrong. The public health community has done a slow walk back from those early days of ACT-UP’s message of certitude.

They have abandoned “Safe” sex for the more qualified “Safer” sex.

They have abandoned advocating N-9 as both lubricant and fail-safe.

They have all but abandoned the condom as effective against much of anything in the way of STI’s.

They have embraced the language of abstinence and long-term mutual monogamy as the surest ways of preventing STI’s, including HIV.

In presenting themselves as the true shepherds of the sexually licentious in the face of a killer disease, in establishing the corollary narrative that the Bishops were out of touch old celibates consigned to history’s dustbin, ACT-UP and their fellow travelers no doubt unwittingly led scores of thousands to HIV infection and death.

Theirs is a bitter, shameful legacy.

The Bishops for their part spared no expense in creating hospital and nursing home beds for AIDS patients and received them with compassion. One of those leaders of the desecration converted to the Catholic Church on his death bed and entered eternity sealed with the sacraments. The Bishops would not be swayed by the bad PR, and stayed faithful to their Church, their Office and their God.

It is Cardinal O’Connor’s message that the science has borne out:

“Good morality is good medicine.”

(The promised article on abstinence is itself a new series entitled, “Abstinence Education (Part I)”

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Jill Stanek writes a column at WorldNetDaily yesterday entitled, Under Obama, STD Super Strains All the Rage. It’s a must read.

The money line from the article: “Political correctness and liberal ideology both cause and aggravate the spread of communicable and sexually transmitted diseases.”

Jill is right. Read her article before proceeding here.

Liberals don’t ‘get it’ when it comes to the prevention of spreading infectious diseases. That’s because, for them, ideology trumps all. Yesterday, I ran the third in a series of articles on the condom controversy, showing the data that indicate pretty conclusively the conclusion that condoms don’t work. But liberals are wed to the sexual revolution, because that’s where their roots are: in the communist and eugenic revolutions of the 20th Century, a point I hope is being underscored by my ongoing expose on Margaret Sanger.

The sexual revolution is key in redefining marriage and family; selling out 2,000 years of Christian Civilization for an orgasm, most not very good ones at that.

But what of this multi-drug resistant TB (MDRTB). While the facts cited by Jill about TB hitching a ride with HIV, the ugly truth is that New York City is ground zero for MDRTB. It’s an interesting story.

Following the national scandal uncovered by young investigative journalist Geraldo Rivera at the Willowbrook State School for the Mentally Retarded in the early 1970’s, the national landscape with regard to the mentally ill began to change. Willowbrook was a residential facility built for 4,000 but housed 6,000 and was called a “snake pit” by Senator Robert Kennedy. The cruelty and depredations there beggared the imagination. See some of the report here. The closure of Willowbrook heralded the age of group homes and day treatment facilities. This was a powerful and positive step forward. Soon, attention focussed on the mental hospitals, teeming with residents.

New York State Governor Hugh Carey facilitated the virtual emptying of the mental hospitals, returning the patients to the community. In cash-strapped New York City, struggling back from the brink of bankruptcy in 1976, and caught in the economic meltdown of the Carter Presidency, there was simply not enough money for adequate police and fire protective services, much less appropriate monitoring of the mentally ill now in the community. Many began to fall through the cracks, and homelessness began growing. Also, one of the programs to suffer was the TB monitoring program. Then, in 1986-1990 the crack cocaine epidemic hit with a vengeance. People lost their jobs and apartments. Overnight, the city was deluged with the newly homeless. Scrambling for a solution, the city opened its vast National Guard Armories, whose parade floors housed thousands of homeless people each on cots eighteen inches apart. TB-infected crack addicts stopped their year-long antibiotic treatment mid-way, creating through natural selection, resistant strains of TB.

To make matters worse, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes TB is an airborne pathogen, which spread like wildfire among a homeless population whose immune systems were compromised from drug addiction, malnutrition, and increasingly, HIV acquired through prostitution engaged in to get money for more crack.

It was a combination of good intentions and their unintended consequences, coupled with the financial consequences of liberal elitist profligate spending, and a political establishment that refused to heed the warnings about condom inefficiency and over-reliance that I linked in this post.

The perfect storm.

The result was that New York City became the worlds leading exporter of MDRTB. That, coupled with Planned Parenthood’s relentless advocacy of condom use, with their 15% failure rate, rather than advocating sexual continence in the face of three diseases that travel together in weakened hosts, has led us to this Armageddon.

Cardinal O’Connor was right. Good morality is good medicine.

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John Cardinal O'Connor

WARNING: The subject matter in this post deals candidly with sexually transmitted infections and diseases and their modes of transmission. Minors and persons easily upset by the nature of such discussion are advised to skip over this post.

In Part II of this series (Part I here. Part II here. Part IV here.) we examined the disconnect between ACT-UP’s rhetoric on condoms and the published reports in The New York Times during the two years prior to ACT-UP’s desecration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. In this article, we’ll consider some epidemiological data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and see if perhaps the rhetoric is supported by the data.

The graphs below come from CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance, 2008, with the exception of the HIV data, which is also CDC data available here. For purposes of classification, I have divided these diseases into two groups: A & B. This division is entirely my own and not a CDC classification scheme.

GROUP A DISEASES

Number of AIDS cases, AIDS deaths, and people living with AIDS, 1985-2004, United States (CDC, n.d.a)

Chlamydia

Genital Warts (HPV) Initial Visits to Doctor's Office

Herpes Simplex Virus

Trichomoniasis and Other Vaginitis


.
.

GROUP B DISEASES

Chancroid

Syphilis

Gonorrhea


.
.

Explaining the Data

In making sense out of these data, they have been divided into two groups based upon some shared characteristics.

Group A data all show the incidence of disease trending steadily upward. These diseases also share another common characteristic. They all possess the capacity to remain ‘silent’, or asymptomatic in a large percentage of their victims.

HIV Less than half of infected people develop a conversion reaction with its flu-like symptoms.
Trichomonas Though curable with drugs, up to 1/3 of women are asymptomatic carriers.
Human Papilloma Virus (Genital Warts) 60% chance of infection with one contact. Up to 1/3 women remain asymptomatic.
Genital Herpes 80%-90% of people fail to recognize symptoms or have no symptoms at all. They may still shed the virus.
Chlamydia 70%-80% of women have no symptoms. 25%-50% of men have no symptoms.

HPV and Herpes are contact transmission infections. Any exposed skin on the penis not covered by the condom, or on the labia contacting exposed penile skin with condom use, can become infected with a single act of intercourse. These diseases are also spread by oral-genital transmission.

The prevalence line in the HIV graph indicates the number of people living with HIV. As is evident, the rate continues to soar.

The question needs to be asked, with the explosion in condom usage and sales over the past 25 years, why the steady rise in these STI’s? Chlamydia experts believe that the rise in the graph is the result of a combination of better testing methods and mandatory reporting that didn’t come about until the late 1990’s. While that’s understandable, the basal level of infection was not always this high in the population.

Indeed, the graphs all indicate that prior to 1968, the disease rates, even in diseases that had mandatory reporting were extremely low. The graphs tell the sad story of the sexual revolution that really got going with the widespread availability of the pill in the late 1960’s.

This soaring rate of STI’s and STD’s can be explained by the condom bible. Consider an excerpt from the following book available to be read online:

Case Against Condoms: Death by Latex
By Brian Clowes, PhD
Director of Research Worldwide
Human Life International

The book Contraceptive Technology is the most authoritative source of information on all methods of birth control in the world today. This two-inch thick book is often referred to as the “family planner’s bible,” and is revised every few years in order to include updated information. The latest edition was published in 2004, and it is considered by family planners to be the “last word” on all matters contraceptive…

According to Contraceptive Technology, the condom’s user effectiveness rate is 85 percent [9]. This means that, under real-world conditions, a woman whose sexual partners use condoms for every act of sexual intercourse has a 15 percent chance of becoming pregnant in a year.
Figure 2 shows the chances of pregnancy for a woman whose sexual partners faithfully use condoms for 83 average annual instances of sexual intercourse.[10]
Keep in mind that these are the lowest rates that can generally be expected, since they assume 100% condom usage.

Figure 2
Probability of Pregnancy Over Time for Women Whose Sexual Partners Always Use Condoms

1 year 15 percent
2 years 28 percent
3 years 39 percent
4 years 48 percent
5 years 56 percent
10 years 80 percent

It must be stressed that these are probabilities for pregnancy, which can only occur one week per month. Slippage and breakage happen the other three weeks out of the month as well.

How then do we explain the data in Group B? Why the decline?

These diseases manifest immediately, and in the case of gonorrhea and chancroid, painfully. People seek medical treatment immediately, as all three of these diseases are curable with antibiotics. Not so for the viral diseases in Group A. There are no silent infections in Group B to enable transmission between a series of unsuspecting partners. Note too that the infections in gonorrhea and chancroid declined precipitously only at the outset of the HIV pandemic in the mid-late 1980’s. That’s when public health officers required names of partners in order to go out into the community and dry up the reservoir of pathogens. The same for syphilis.

In Group A, because the infections remain asymptomatic in so many for so long, the diseases are able to be transmitted unchecked. Unlike the pathogens in Group B, it’s next to impossible to dry up the reservoir of Trichomonas and Chlamydia because they lurk silently for months to years. The viral diseases HIV and Herpes cannot be eliminated, only held in check. To a good extent, HPV resolves spontaneously in most people, but not before being transmitted.

If condoms were so effective and could be rightly credited for the declines seen in group B, then we would have seen declines in Group A pathogens, minimally Chlamydia and Trichomonas, as well.

Some might argue that there is simply an increase in the number of young people having sex without condoms. Certainly some of these increases in Group A can rightly be attributed to this. Even stipulating this point does not diminish the 15% condom failure rate detailed above, nor does it obviate the fact that condoms do not cover the entire penis, hence not protecting against the spread of HPV and Herpes. The false sense of security leads people to engage in more frequent sex, often with several partners either at once or serially, leading to a greater probability of disease transmission through skin contact, oral sex, or catastrophic condom failure.

Finally, there is CDC’s own Fact Sheet on the Male Latex Condom for Public Health Personnel.

“Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, consistent and correct use of latex condoms reduces the risk of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including diseases transmitted by genital secretions, and to a lesser degree, genital ulcer diseases. Condom use may reduce the risk for genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and HPV-associated diseases, e.g., genital warts and cervical cancer.”

Finally consider this statement from the fact sheet:

“The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”

That’s as close a vindication of Cardinal O’Connor and the Bishops are likely to get from CDC. It seems very much like a variant expression of traditional morality, which is abstinence before and fidelity in marriage.

CDC gives no guarantees beyond that, and very little encouragement in the way of condom safety.

Next Wednesday: The efficacy of abstinence programs.

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John Cardinal O'Connor

Read Part I here.
Part III here.
, Part IV here..

During the late 1980’s a narrative developed about the Catholic hierarchy, condoms, and HIV; A bunch of old celibate men, through their irrational opposition to any form of birth control, refused to teach the lifesaving truth that condoms prevent the transmission of HIV.

The problem is that the narrative is a lie, start to finish.

To begin, the opposition to the use of birth control is anything but irrational. In 1968 Pope Paul VI clearly articulated the Church’s 2,000 year consistent witness to this in Humanae Vitae, a brief but concise document. In paragraph 17, Pope Paul VI proves prescient:

“17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

“Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.”

Certainly Cardinal O’Connor and the Bishops knew all too well the rise in promiscuity following widespread access to the pill in 1968. They knew the CDC data linked here which show the steady rise in STD rates. (Click on “all slides”). Fast-forwarding to today for a moment, Research out of Harvard agrees with the Church that Condoms can make HIV worse in Africa, among other places.

In the mid-80’s, the New York Times, the self-styled ‘paper of record’ carried several articles which cast a long shadow over the absolutist claims of condom safety by AIDS activists.

On August 24, 1987 the Times reported “20% of Condom Batches Fail”.

On May 12, 1988 the Times reported that 33 million condoms had been recalled in 1987 with a failure rate of 4/1000. The paper failed to reconcile those numbers with the 20% failure rate reported in August of the previous year. The paper did report that the 4/1000 was an improvement over the 4.8/1000 rate in 1986. These rates for domestic condoms were better than the 6.5/1000 in 1987 and 7.3/1000 in 1986 for imported condoms.

On August 18, 1987 the Times ran a major article entitled “Condoms: Experts Fear False Sense Of Security”. From the Article:

“MANY health officials have begun to voice concern that the campaign to encourage condom use to curb the spread of AIDS may be misunderstood, creating a false sense of security in people whose behavior continues to put them in danger.

“Experts say condoms should minimize the spread of the AIDS virus among the heterosexual population, especially when used with spermicides containing nonoxynol-9, which has been found to kill the virus in test tubes. The experts say this justifies recent campaigns promoting the devices.

“But they stress that it is unknown just how much protection condoms offer. The officials note that condoms have been widely rejected as a method of birth control because they frequently fail, and say the devices may be no better – in fact, may be worse – at curtailing AIDS. They warn that sexually active men and women should not assume that they are protected simply because they use prophylactics.”

The article is filled with notable quotes from experts, all expressing doubts.

It was an interesting time. Because the spermicide nonoxynol-9 was found to have killed HIV at high concentrations in test tubes, it was added as a lubricant and fail-safe against condom tearing or slipping. In recent years we have learned two devastating truths.

1. Nonoxynol-9 in the low concentration on condoms is ineffective against HIV.

2. Nonoxynol-9 in the low concentration on condoms causes ulcerations in the vaginas of women who use them frequently, such as sex workers. This means that N-9 does not kill the virus when condoms tear, and facilitates infection by compromising the vaginal and rectal epithelia.

Finally, a week after the desecration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral by ACT-UP (reported in Part I), the Times reported that The National Women’s Health Network requested the FDA to remove approval for two new condoms:

“A public-interest health group said today that it had petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw marketing clearance for two new types of condoms because neither had been tested for effectiveness in preventing pregnancy or protecting against disease.

“The National Women’s Health Network, a nonprofit group based in Washington, charged that the Federal agency had erred in approving the devices under a legal provision that waives testing requirements if a new device is substantially like one already approved.”

It was an interesting time. Anti-retroviral medications were being hastened to market. New condoms were being hastened to market all in a desperate attempt to throw the entire arsenal at this virus. But desperate measures can have unintended consequences.

In time, what will be most remembered is the stubborn insistence of so many to having sex outside of a life’s commitment to mutual monogamy with ONE individual in the face of a disease that is so devastating.

Where were the AIDS activists when these reports were being published by the Times? They were busy crafting calumnies against men who read the Times and knew better, celibacy notwithstanding. These lies have become part of the HIV/AIDS lore. How many have gone to their deaths because of their false assurances and convenient scapegoating? Such activism in the name Public Health has been devastating.

It was an interesting time.

Next Wednesday, we’ll take a deeper look at the scientific data about condoms and consider them against the backdrop of STI/STD rates.

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UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR 14 MORE POSTS ON QUOTES AND A TV INTERVIEW WITH MIKE WALLACE IN 1957.

Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger in her own words:

“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”

Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.

Note: Clarence Gamble, president of the American Eugenics Research
Association, said, “There is a great danger that we will fail because
the Negroes think it a plan for extermination. Hence lets appear to
let the colored run it as we appear to let [the] south do the
conference in Atlanta.”[2] Under this policy, Planned Parenthood of
America hired a full-time “Negro Consultant” in 1944.

“Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need … We must prevent multiplication of this bad stock.”

Margaret Sanger, April 1933 Birth Control Review.

“The campaign for birth control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical with the final aims of eugenics.”

Margaret Sanger. “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda.” Birth Control Review, October 1921, page 5

“As an advocate of birth control I wish … to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit,’ admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation….
On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”

Margaret Sanger. “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda.” Birth Control Review, October 1921, page 5

“Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism … [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

Margaret Sanger. The Pivot of Civilization, 1922. Chapter on “The Cruelty of Charity,” pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition.

“The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind.”

Margaret Sanger, quoted in Charles Valenza. “Was Margaret Sanger a Racist?” Family Planning Perspectives, January-February 1985, page 44.

“The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”

Margaret Sanger. Speech quoted in Birth Control: What It Is, How It Works, What It Will Do. The Proceedings of the First American Birth Control Conference. Held at the Hotel Plaza, New York City, November 11-12, 1921. Published by the Birth Control Review, Gothic Press, pages 172 and 174.

“The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order…”

Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922.

Quote Source: EadsHome Ministries.

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John Cardinal O'Connor

A little-known anniversary passed very silently on the tenth of this month, the twentieth anniversary of AIDS activist group ACT-UP’s desecration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. The New York Times reported the incident. It was the culmination of many smaller-scale desecrations at the Cathedral by gay groups, including Dignity. From 1987-88 I was a seminarian for the Archdiocese of New York, and was present at the Cathedral for Sunday Masses with the Cardinal when Dignity would seat themselves in rows midway down the aisle, then stand with their backs turned to the Cardinal as he gave the homily. They hated him as no other because he was pro-life, because he was a faithful son of the Church and would not give his blessing to the use of condoms for any purpose.

Cardinal O’Connor’s famous rejoinder was, “Good morality is good medicine.” For that singular statement he was regarded as little more than a caveman in Cardinal’s robes. From the Times article:

“Protesters said yesterday’s action was prompted by what they said was Cardinal O’Connor’s growing verbal assault on abortion and on the use of ‘safe sex’ with condoms as a precaution against AIDS.

“In October, the Cardinal expressed his admiration for Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group that frequently blocks entrances to abortion clinics. In a speech at the Vatican in November, he re-stated his view that distributing condoms or clean needles was an inappropriate way to combat the spread of the AIDS virus. In a phrase frequently condemned by demonstrators yesterday, he said, ‘Good morality is good medicine.'”

What the Times did not report was that one protester crumbled the Eucharist at Communion time in an act of desecration never before seen in the cathedral. Protesters also threw condoms all over the cathedral. They were right about one thing, people were dying from this disease. AIDS patients were still considered lepers in many quarters. It was a frightening time.

Earlier that autumn 1989, Fr. Bruce Ritter asked me if I would return to Covenant House, a shelter for homeless teens in Times Square, where I had worked for five years prior to entering the seminary. He explained that he had started a Special Needs Unit for adolescents with HIV/AIDS. Some were already dying in end-stage AIDS. I accepted the offer.

Our unit at the time was the ONLY residential facility in the nation for adolescents with HIV/AIDS. Most of the kids were male prostitutes who contracted the virus from their clients. The disease progressed rapidly in some. We buried one young man not long after I began work on the unit. So, I was not without sympathy for the issue felt so keenly by Dignity and ACT-UP.

I contemplated this during the long night shifts when the kids finally went to sleep. What was the objection, really? Why such venomous hatred directed at the Church? Everyone knew that condoms broke during vaginal sex, more-so during anal sex. This wasn’t a state secret. Having just begun my post-baccalaureate curriculum in science at Columbia University, I found the hatred for the Church on campus palpable. Why?

The answer was: Narcissism. Even in the face of a killer sexually transmitted disease, people wanted their sex. Period. The drive toward self-indulgence was so powerful that it blinded people to the reality that condoms had a pretty significant failure rate, for a variety of reasons: improper and inconsistent use, tearing, slipping.

Then there was the issue of promiscuity in the gay community, the orgies in the bath houses that were eventually closed down as a public health measure. People weren’t interested in changing their behavior. They wanted fornication without consequences and expected, demanded the Church play along. In hindsight, they were looking for political cover.

For those old enough to remember the early years of the AIDS pandemic, it was largely considered a ‘gay’ disease. When it started showing up in the heterosexual community, many gays feared (rightly) a backlash based on that perception of AIDS being a gay disease. What better cover than the Catholic Church? The Bishops weren’t falling for it. They knew better about condoms, and sought to teach the faithful.

In the interim, Cardinal O’Connor quietly set about increasing the number of hospital beds in Catholic hospitals of the Archdiocese dedicated to AIDS patients to well above fifteen percent. He effectively turned Saint Clare’s Hospital on W 52nd Street into an AIDS hospice. Unbeknown to his detractors, the Cardinal went to St. Clare’s once a week in simple clerical garb to wash patients, empty bedpans, and perform priestly pastoral ministry to the dying. On his orders, he was introduced simply as Father John.

Next Wednesday, we’ll take a look at the wisdom and strength behind that humility. We’ll consider the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control data that clearly vindicate Cardinal O’Connor, and lay much blame for this ongoing tragedy at the feet of his most bitter detractors. We’ll see the epidemiological data that expose the great lie about condoms and where we have gone these past twenty years. It isn’t pretty.

Part II here.
Part III here.
Part IV here.

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