Christian Morality, Safeguard Against the Spread of AIDS


Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (*)


UNDOUBTEDLY, the moral fac­tor is preponderant as a constraint against the spread of AIDS in our country [Brazil] already so dangerously affected by this terrible evil.

In short, it is general knowledge that the principal focus of contagion of this sickness lies within homosexual ambiences. But bisexuals can also get AIDS—not only in their relations with their own sex but also with the feminine sex (who are, however, more resistant to contagion than the masculine sex).

These are the two major risk groups for the propagation of AIDS. There is a third risk group, made up of those persons subject to frequent blood transfusions, such as hemophiliacs, anemics, etc. They are the innocent victims of the cruel contagious disease, due to the little care in the professional selection of the blood that they receive. In effect, it can happen that they are thus given blood contaminated with AIDS...

For each one of these three risk groups, the moral focus of the question, according to the principles of the Church in our country (which is Catholic, thanks be to God), exerts a most valuable influence. For, as it is generally known, the homosexual act is qualified by the Church as a "sin against nature" and catalogued among those sins that cry out to heaven and clamor to God for vengeance, thus revealing its extreme gravity.

Now, without a wide range moral restraint, I do not truly know how to
effectively repress homosexuality, and, therefore, the spread of AIDS. It is worthwhile to note a, so to speak, suicidal tendency that has already been victorious in various countries and is in open ascent in others, which is not to qualify homosexuality as a crime.

One could argue that the very up-surge of the threat of AIDS exerts an
unrivaled pressure to repress homosexuality; by repressing it, the danger of AIDS would become extinct. The spread of AIDS would thus constitute a self-destructing danger: The very panic of contracting the terrible sickness would lead men to avoid it by abstaining from that act against nature.

Without contesting the certain salutary effect of the danger of AIDS as
having a coercive effect on homosexuality, it behooves us to note that its value is somewhat relative. For it depends upon the addict (of this vice) himself to choose between the two difficult perspectives that are opened to him: the hard battle to do away with the vice, or to keep this vice—even with the terrible risk of mortal contagion. Moreover, the psychology of uncountable addicts leads them to opt for keeping the vice, which gratifies their
weakness and disordinate appetites.

On the contrary, the Catholic, in face of such an alternative, does not consider himself free to choose between one or the other route: He knows that he is obliged to obey the will of God, to obey Him because of the love and submission that he owes Him. But he also obeys Him because of the just fear that the hand of God will sternly punish him with the eternal pains of hell— and, be it well understood, with proportionate punish­ments in this life. Of these, one of the most terrible is the inexorable road traveled by the carrier of AIDS —through the most devastating suffering and ending in death.

A word remains to be said about the negligence and carelessness of those responsible for the transmission of AIDS in blood transfusions. The misfortune suffered by these innocent vic­tims because of these professional shortcomings make those responsible guilty of a very grave sin. And the justice of God can release itself upon them rigorously, even when they cunningly manage to sidestep culpability for their crime before the justice of men. For a Catholic, this constitutes a motivation of nonpareil importance so that he will not be held responsible —by negligence or by haste—for a transgression against the fifth commandment: "Thou shalt not kill."

In this case, as in so many others, only specifically religious morals constitute for man the saving rampart that protects him from the multiple internal propensities toward evil.       


(*) “Folha de S. Paulo”, February, 21th 1987