We’re in the month of May. In some countries like the Philippines, people still observe some traditions during this month to honor Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ: pilgrimages, processions, offering of flowers and praying the Rosary. The Philippine Daily Inquirer published a letter I sent them. It is quite timely because it talks about a virtue closely related to devotion to Mary: this is the virtue of chastity:
In the Inquirer’s May 17, 2016, editorial titled “Public health and HIV,” the newspaper once more brought to the attention of the Filipinos the rising number of persons infected by the virus.
To solve this problem, one of the proposals presented by the editorial was the distribution of condoms. It even called on the presumptive president-elect of the Philippines to action: “If Duterte makes good on his promise to fully implement the RH Law, he has to push Congress to allot a bigger budget for its core programs, among them the distribution of condoms, more widespread education and awareness campaigns on safe sex, and HIV testing.”
In the interest of truth and service to our countrymen, I think it would be appropriate here to say that condoms do not protect persons from contracting the HIV virus. And it is enough proof that one person who used condoms to protect himself from contamination still acquired the virus. Such a person exists.
Some years ago, a young man read a letter I wrote to the Inquirer, which the editors graciously published. Essentially what I wrote was that condoms are not the solution to the spread of the HIV virus; rather people must practice chastity.
This person wrote to me saying that he agreed with me. He himself thought that using condoms would make his risky behavior safe. He would go to PNP (“party and play”), armed with loads of condoms and lubricants. He still got the virus.
He wrote: “As I’m becoming involved in a lot of organizations in the Metro to spread awareness about this illness, I do agree with you, Father, that the real solution to AIDS is attitude toward chastity and to go back to Him,” referring to God, with whom he said he reconciled through confession, and since then he decided to abstain. As a result, his HIV infection has been maintained at tolerable levels.
The May 18, 2016, editorial cartoon by Gilbert Daroy depicts Duterte, dressed as a doctor, with a huge syringe and needle aimed at administering it to the Filipino. The syringe was labeled “National Discipline.” How meaningful. Now chastity is one of those virtues making up the compendium of virtues that we can call national discipline, which can include honesty, doing work well, order, respect for the law, punctuality, concern for others, service, kindness and courtesy, to name the more salient ones.
I would call on Duterte to launch this campaign to educate the Filipino to be a disciplined person. Such a person will be careful to avoid engaging in unnecessary risky behavior, and he or she can be a pillar for the development of the nation.