I have a good friend who I’ve known for about 25 years who died the other day after losing a long bout with cancer. He won the early rounds, but ultimately his opponent wore him down and bested him. I’ll be attending his service later today, and I know it will be a mixed-emotion day, with lots of tears and lots of laughter – tears of grief and the laughter of remembrance. He was not much older than me, which at my age means that he died far too young. But he has a large and loving coterie of family and friends, incredibly supportive of each other, all who will ensure that his wife and children come away with far more positive than negative emotions. They are not having a religious service, but if they did, and they had asked me to give the sermon, here is what I would have said:
One of the most egregious Catholic policies of late (aside from boy buggering) has been the refusal to allow the use of condoms in sexual relations. Indeed, all birth control is proscribed, but condoms have collateral benefits, such as restricting the spread of disease. Of course, aside from the procreational aspect in a world where over-population is a significant problem, you also have the fact that Catholics in countries where AIDS runs rampant have to make a choice between obeying the teachings of their church, or dying. And many choose death because that childhood Catholic indoctrination is so hard to shake.