The word Prophylactic has several meanings, two of which have importance to social issues 1. To prevent pregnancy 2. To prevent or protect from the spread of disease or infection. From this point of view the reason for the institution of Marriage as Paul the Apostle defines it is very Prophylactic.
1 Corinthians 7
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Although there is always room for interpretation the definition is relatively clear marriage is to prevent or protect against the spread of immoral behaviour, if sin is considered as a disease. This makes one wonder about the churches approach to other issues of a prophylactic nature. It is an example of God’s love and acceptance of us as we are, with our faults although he would have us strive against those faults. In establishing the right of marriage for the unmarried and the widowed God is protecting them from sin if they “cannot control themselves.”
Fred Henry the Bishop of Calgary has been spearheading a campaign against the use of Gardasil a vaccine (a prophylactic measure) against HPV, by the province of Alberta’s Catholic schools.
If the Bible endorses prophylactic measures why is the church against the same sort of activity here? In providing girls with the vaccine for HPV the Province is protecting girls from death and disease, if they “cannot control themselves.” This almost mirrors the way God would do things. I can understand but do not agree with the issue of celibacy before marriage and in the priesthood, but this is entirely a different matter. In celibacy the activity of sex is the perceived issue, as it keeps men and women from being holy in the site of God, (so says the Catholic Church) but the use of a vaccine to prevent a disease if young women should be too week to resist temptation or God help us be raped or coerced into sex in anyway, is not the same. The church is in essence saying that the threat of disease is God’s means to control humans. To me this is against the idea that “God is Love,” and much like the repulsive idea that AIDS is Gods punishment for homosexuality. I wouldn’t make a good Catholic as I can’t swallow such a vengeful God.