Working Papers or "Veniam Pro Laudo Peto"
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“A Christian perspective on AIDS/ HIV and Homosexuality: Divine Punishment or a manmade created evil produced by iniquity.”

Monday, May 01, 2006
Initially I must confess that my reaction was yes: AIDS and HIV are a Divine Punishment[1] for the sin of homosexuality[2] in the world. However this standpoint presents problematic in the innocent who suffer as a result of this disease as in the case of children, healthcare workers infected, blood transfusion recipients and victims of sexual crimes such as rape. I began to ponder that if this was a Divine Punishment for homosexuals then why would they be the only ones affected. God in His Infinite Wisdom would certainly see that a blood borne illness would affect countless scores of innocents. This question led me to question the entire notion of suffering within the world and why many times it is the innocent as well as the guilty who suffer greatly.[3] I also began to ponder that if Divine Justice[4] in the form of an illness was exacted as a chastisement[5] upon mankind would not many other crimes against the Almighty One be also similarly exacted upon mankind. Crimes (sins) such as abortion[6], unjust wars[7], terrorism[8], violence[9] against the innocent, genocide[10], racism[11] and the like seem to go unpunished by God while the voices of the innocent cry out to Him. Would not Divine Justice demand that the cries of His innocent children be answered[12]?
Human suffering is wrapped within the mystery of iniquity[13] and is tied directly into the first fall of mankind from God’s Grace[14]. Even the private sins in the spiritual life affect the entire state of mankind in relationship to human suffering. A sin does not have to be public to still be a sin and a direct offence to The Holy One. As a result of the free choices to sin, privately or publicly, by all a division from God’s Grace is formed whereby illnesses of all kinds are formed in the chasm of darkness. God does not create these illnesses nor does He create anything that is evil. It is humanities private and public sins[15] which in a cosmic and spiritual dimension create the environment in the recesses of darkness which a multitude of human suffering is created which effects the just and the unjust. To some degree or another we all have sinned terribly and offended Almighty God. Each sin which is freely committed has a causal relationship on the creation of all forms of suffering upon humankind. Like ripples that are created when throwing a stone in a clear lake the waves of indignation and iniquity beat upon all the vessels in the water. Just and unjust, righteous and wicked are all effected to varying degrees through illnesses and other forms of suffering as a result of the multitude of evils, private and public, committed by the entirety of humanity.
However, to entirely account for AIDS/ HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and the suffering that results from them in simply a broad universal spiritual sense would be wrong. There are definite consequences for our actions in the spiritual and the temporal world. In most cases the suffering brought on through AIDS/ HIV is a direct result of the choices freely made to commit moral evil[16]. Our Loving and Merciful Eternal God has given us standards- commandments- for our behavior to protect us and draw us into Eternal Joy with Him. The rules of conduct for our behavior with Him and with others are not rules that enslave us but rather enable us to rejoice within the warmth of His Heart which burns with love for us. It is when we violate those standards, those commandments, that we fall victim to the consequences of our very poor choices and thereby suffer and cause others to suffer. Like a loving human father would want his children to have fun and play within the yard and not venture into the busy street so as to protect his children from the dangers he sees, I think so to with God’s commandments in relationship to His children. Yet, the deceiver entices the children of God into committing sins of all kinds, especially sexual sins, with the lie that all pleasure is good and there are no consequences for sin and/or it is not even a sin at all. Humans buy into the lies of Satan and reject the Divine Law and then suffer physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of their actions. Then when great sufferings ensue such as AIDS/ HIV and other illnesses mankind instead of owning up to the consequences of their actions and turning to God instead of blaming God for the evil of the illnesses.
It is so sad to me that intelligent Christians either excuse the behavior of the sinner so as not to offend or in some misguided form of charity towards the suffering individual rather than addressing both the physical needs of the suffering individual and their spiritual needs before their soul is lost forever at death (if they remain in unrepentant grave sin). It is also sad to me that Christians fall into the trap laid down by the father of all lies to cast blame for the suffering of AIDS/ HIV upon God by equating it to a Divine Punishment. One of the big problems I feel with exacting Divine Punishment upon anyone is that then we must too stand ready to face the Divine Punishment we are due for our own sins. I feel also to equate illnesses regardless of the behaviors which brought them about with Divine Punishment places the Christian in the very sinful position of being judge rather than allowing God to be the Eternal Judge[17]. Souls freely choose their own heaven or hell by the actions they make. We can choose to live as Children of the Light[18] and accept and follow The Crucified and Risen One bearing our crosses daily for Him or we can choose evil and the temporal and eternal hell that ensues. God desires that all men and women repent of any number of sins- including homosexual actions- and come to salvation in and through Jesus Christ.
I feel the evil one ensnares some with temptations to homosexual activity and they allow him to pull their soul into the pit by committing the vile sin. In relationship to the previous statement the evil one also, I feel, ensnares the faithful Christian by acts of hatred or by not being Christ like to the homosexual person. The evil one ensnares the Christian into either dealing with the homosexual with either ‘kid gloves’ by not being truthful about the danger they are placing their immortal soul and their temporal bodies in- through AIDS/ HIV or by dealing strictly with the sin while not caring for the sinner- body and soul. It is a very precarious balance between Love and Truth that the faithful Christian must walk. It is a balance that can only be found in the Holy Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ- for it is at the foot of the Cross that the Christian achieves the balance through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We must, I feel, as Christ’s faithful boldly and clearly proclaim the Truth[19] and not shy away from calling a sin a sin. The faithful Christian must also treat each person- regardless of their individual sinfulness with Christian Charity. The faithful Christian must make the distinction between the sinner (which to some degree or order we all are) and the sin itself. We must look on each sinner regardless of how repulsive the sin they commit as a potential repentant child of God. We must give comfort and aid to the person, in body and soul, as they are the least of his children[20]. The homosexual person will not come into repentance and conversion if they are not given the Truth with Love[21]. Like wise the person suffering from the ravages of HIV/ AIDS must be ministered to in body and soul by the entire Christian community just as Our Lord[22]. If Christians can learn to look upon all people as potential repentant saints of the Most High God and as Jesus Christ, in a distressing disguise[23], then I feel we can not only treat the suffering of the body but also the suffering soul within. We must therefore boldly proclaim the Divine Truth and call a sin a sin and that to the soul that repents God is infinitely merciful[24].
We each have our own crosses to bear in regards to the temptations we face[25]. I am so grateful to Almighty God that my temptations do not involve sins like these (i.e. homosexual sins). I feel that the cross I must bear in other temptations which through God’s Grace[26] and Mercy- He is able to help me to overcome is of sufficient enough weight. What I must do- what we all must do- is to help those that are weak in certain areas to come to know the Truth and Love of God through Jesus Christ[27]. I feel we must each do our part to bring each other, and ourselves, into conversion daily and through acts of Mercy bring souls to Christ Jesus. Our Lord was not spared His own temptations, though He never fell to them, in the desert and we too shall be facing our own temptations of some kind. We must keep our eyes focused upon Him and hold up as our banner for the world to see our motto- “Jesus I Trust in YOU”![28] When God deals out true Divine Punishment it will be done in a way that there can be no question by sinner or saint as to the reason or the correctness of form.
In conclusion, I do not feel that AIDS/ HIV are a form of Divine Punishment rather a self inflicted wound that all of humanity is responsible for, to varying degrees, and must bear. Humanity can only find eternal salvation in Jesus Christ[29]. Terrible sufferings of all kinds will come about as a result of the effects of sin and evil in the world. How much worse sufferings have the masses of humanity inflicted upon the Heart of God than we have received ourselves. Divine Mercy and Divine Justice demand[30] of each of us as Christians that we must proclaim the Truth of Christ to all especially to those who can benefit the most from the infinite Mercy of God[31]. We must bind the wounds of humanity and be the visible hands of Jesus Christ to those who suffer from all afflictions including AIDS/ HIV. We must be the voices of Mercy and Truth along with being the hands of Christ to all especially the sick (spiritually and temporally) of the world lest we bring forth a worst Divine Punishment upon ourselves. How we, as Christ’s faithful, deal with and treat those who are lost in the most darkness of error and sin alas determines not only their salvation but how we are judged by the Almighty and Holy One. Lest we forget the final lesson of Moses who made it to the threshold of the Promise Land[32] after leading the children of the Most High God[33] and prevented from entering because of his own unfaithfulness[34]. Let us therefore pray[35] to The Crucified and Risen One born Incarnate that we may have the grace of final perseverance[36] in proclaiming the Truth with Love[37] to all and bring all sinners[38]- heterosexuals and homosexuals back home into the promise land.
[1] Joshua 7; Joshua 22:20; 1 Chron. 2:7; Eccl. 11:9; 2 Peter 2:13; Jerm. 44: 12-14, Gen 13, 14; Gen 19:24, 27-28; Lk 17:29; et al.
[2] Lev. 18:22-23; 1 Cor. 6:9; Dt. 23:17; 1 Kg 14: 24; 1 Kg 15:12; 1 Kg 22:46; 2 Kg 23:7; Job 1; also see Gen 13, 14; et al.
[3] Gen 18:23-32
[4] “Summa Theologica”, St. Thomas Aquinas, 1st Part, Q 21, Article 4 and also supplement Q 99, Article 1, circa AD 1227; et al.
[5] Jerm. 10; “Homilies on Hebrews”, St. John Chrysostom, # 30, on Hebrews 12:11-13, circa AD 347; ibid, # 29, on Hebrews 12: 4-6; “Oration 16”, St. Gregory Nazianzen, circa AD 325; “Sermon 84”, St. Leo the Great, circa AD 461; et al.
[6] “Declaration on Procured Abortions”, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Rome, 1974.
[7] Mt 26:52, Mt 5:39; Rom 12:19; Lk 3:14; also see “Summa Theologica”, Part 2 of 2nd Part, Q 40, Article 1; et al.
[8] “Divini Redemptoris”, Pope Pius XI, 1937, Rome; et al.
[9] “Letter 93”, St. Augustine of Hippo, AD 408
[10] “Gaudium et Spec”, “Pastoral Council of the Church in the Modern World”, Second Vatican Council, 1965, Rome; “Address to the UN General Assembly”, Pope John Paul II, October 7 1979, New York; “Dominum et Vivificantem”, Pope John Paul II, 1986, Rome, et al.
[11] “Populorum Progressio”, Pope Paul VI, 1967, Rome; “Pacem in Terris”, Pope John XXIII, 1963, Rome; et al.
[12] Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34; Ps 22; et al.
[13] Dan. 3, 27; Ps. 17 (18), 10; Ps. 36 (35), 7; Ps. 48 (47), 12; Ps. 51 (50), 6; Ps. 99 (98), 4; Ps. 119 (118), 75; Mal. 3, 16-21; Mt. 20, 16; Marc. 10, 31; Lk. 17, 34; Jn. 5, 30; Rom. 2, 2; “Salvific Doloris”, “On the meaning of human suffering”, Pope John Paul II, 1984, Rome; et al.
[14] Ibid; Gen 3, 19; et al.
[15] Rom 5: 12; “Summa”, 1st Part of 2nd Part, Q 85, Article 5; et al.
[16] Lev 18:22, Lev 20:13, Gen 19: 1-11; “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons”, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1986, Rome.
[17] Gen 3; Gen 6:5; Gen 28:20; Num 16:30; Ex 6:6; Ex 12:12; Ez 25:11; Ez 28:22; Prov 11:31; Ez 14:21; Judges 12:13-15; “The Grammar of Assent”, “Apprehension and Assent in the Matter of Religion” (Chapter 5), John Cardinal Henry Newman, circa 1809-1890, London.
[18] Eph 4:17; Eph 5:8
[19] Ex 20:1-17; Dt 5:6-21; “Summa” 1:16:1; Ps 86:11; Ps 119:30; Mt 22:16; Mk 12:14; Jn 14:6; 2 Cor 4:2; “Veritas Splendor”, (“The Splendor of Truth”), Pope John Paul II, 1993, Rome.
[20] Mt 25:31-46
[21] “Jesus Christ: The Measure of True Humanism”, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), April 19 2005, Rome.
[22] Mt 4:23; Mt 8:14; Mt 9:1; Mt 9:27; Mk 1:29; Mk 2:1; Lk 4:38; Lk 5:17; Jn 4:43; Jn 9:1.
[23] “They are JESUS [sic. the poor and sick] Each one is Jesus in His distressing disguises”, Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta speaking of taking care of the poor and dying in India.
[24] Is 43:14; Rom 9:16; Rom 11:31; Rom 21:1; 2 Cor 4:1; Jude 1:21; “Dives in Misericordia” (“God is rich in Mercy”), Pope John Paul II, 1980, Rome; also see “Divine Mercy in My Soul”, St. Faustina Kowalska, circa 1930, Poland; et al.
[25] James 1
[26] Titus 2:11-15; “Everything is a Grace, everything is a direct effect of Our Father’s Love-difficulties, humiliations, contradictions, all the soul’s miseries, her (his) burdens, her (his) needs- everything, because in them she (he) learns humility, realizes her (his) weakness. Everything is a Grace because- everything is God’s gift. Whatever be the character of life or it’s unexpected events-to the heart that loves- all is well”, St. Therese of Lisieux, circa 1890’s, France.
[27] 2 Thes 2:13; 2 Jn 1:3;
[28] “Divine Mercy in my Soul”; “Dives in Misericordia”; et al.
[29] 1 Thes 5:9; 2 Tim 2:10; 2 Tim 3:15;
[30] “The Mystery of the Holy Trinity”, “Parochial and Plain Sermons”, Vol. 6, Sermon 24, John Cardinal Henry Newman, circa 1809-1890, London.
[31] Is 43:14; Rom 9:16; Rom 11:31; Rom 21:1; 2 Cor 4:1; Jude 1:21; “Dives in Misericordia” (“God is rich in Mercy”), Pope John Paul II, 1980, Rome; also see “Divine Mercy in My Soul”, St. Faustina Kowalska, circa 1930, Poland; et al.
[32] Ex 33:1
[33] Gen 14:18-19,20; et al.
[34] Dt 32:48-52
[35] Jn 14:13; Jn 16:23-24, 26; Jn 16:26; Eph 5:20; Col 3:17; Heb 1;
[36] Rev 2:10
[37] “Jesus Christ: The Measure of True Humanism”, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), April 19 2005, Rome;
[38] Acts 10:45; Acts 11:1-18; Acts 13:46-48; Acts 14:27; Acts 15:7-9; 2 Chron 33:12-13; et al.
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