Skip to comments.AIDS Activists Blast Vatican's Stance on Condoms
Posted on 12/03/2003 7:51:52 AM PST by NYer
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - AIDS activists, health officials and even some quarters of the Catholic Church criticized the Vatican on Tuesday for defending its opposition to condoms.
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said in a message to mark World Aids Day on Monday that fidelity, chastity and abstinence were the best ways to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
"It's very disappointing because the Catholic Church's irrational stance on condoms undermines the very good work that the Catholic Church does with regards to caring for people with HIV...," said Nathan Geffen in South Africa.
Geffen, national manager of Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa's foremost group of AIDS activists, echoed comments by others who work with HIV/AIDS sufferers in Africa.
The Church opposes contraception, including condoms, which it says promote promiscuity. Criticism has increased as the number of AIDS victims soars.
"By not supporting the use of condoms and not advocating the use of condoms as one of the preventative measures I would say that the Catholic Church is helping the spread of a deadly disease," Morten Rostrup, president of the international council of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), said in Nairobi.
"We know condoms are one of the best ways of preventing the disease. We are surely not opposed to behavioral changes. But to advocate against the use of condoms as a preventative measure ... is totally unacceptable from a moral, ethical and medical perspective," he said.
In his message for World AIDS Day, Cardinal Barragan made a clear reference to condoms, saying information campaigns should not be "based on policies that foster immoral and hedonistic lifestyles and behavior, favoring the spread of the evil."
AIDS activists rejected this.
"They should reconsider their position for the sake of us Africans and everyone else who has the disease," said Gitura Mwaura, chairman of Kenya Coalition for Access to Essential Medicines.
"It's time they pulled their heads out of the sand because this is a serious situation. Promoting abstinence has to date not worked but condoms have provided some protection," he said.
While the Vatican was urging Catholics to shun condoms, a U.S. Catholic group was rebelling against the Vatican message.
Catholics for a Free Choice, an independent organization, launched a global campaign called "Good Catholics Use Condoms."
The campaign, launched on Monday in the Washington D.C. metro, includes posters that will not please the Vatican.
Two show smiling young heterosexual couples above a message reading: "We believe in God. We believe that sex is sacred. We believe in caring for each other. We believe in using condoms."
The group, which the Vatican says is not an official representation of Catholicism, also produced a booklet called: "Sex in the HIV/AIDS Era -- A Guide for Catholics."
"We cannot stand by and let the Vatican go unchallenged with its irresponsible attitude toward condoms and Catholics," said Frances Kisslings, the group's president.
"Cardinals and bishops must promote a culture of life in which responsible sexuality and AIDS prevention are linked, not a culture of death which will result in more AIDS ravaged communities, especially in the developing world," she said. (Additional reporting by William Maclean in Nairobi and Ed Stoddard in Johannesburg)
Trujillo, President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, called on governments to urge people not to use condoms.
His words "These margins of uncertainty, should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do, with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger."
In swift reaction to this claim, the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned the comments and warned the Vatican to desist from putting lives at risk with such utterances.
A spokeswoman to WHO was quoted as saying that" Statements like this are quite dangerous"We are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people and currently affects around 42 million. "There is so much evidence to show that condoms don't let sexually transmitted infections like HIV through. "Anyone who says otherwise is just wrong."
I went through the first two links and got a pretty clear picture of what theyr'e about. The first is a left wing hit peice opinion column published in the S.F. Chronicle. The author - a left wing idiot - makes one accusation after another without substantiating even one of them.
The itacized text is from the second article. Please notice the words "allegedly suggested." That is hardly a pronouncement of Catholic doctrine. What the good Cardinal actually said is in quotes in the article. His words "These margins of uncertainty, should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do, with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger" may be cause for controversy, but it is bad public policy to permit people to believe that use of a condom insures protection from contracting diseases.
As for your analogy to seatbelts it is based on a false premise. Use of seat belts is only a redundancy to driving a car. So, a small percentage of road trips result in an accident. An even smaller percentage result in a life threatening accident and finally, seat belts reduce the risk of deat even further. If your chance of any given road trip resulting in a life threatening accident is much less that 2% and sealt belts only reduce this further.
If you had a 2% chance of dying, each time you got in an automobile - I can assure you driving would be prohibited. It would also be a pretty unpopular activity.
A better analogy would be the flying of bomber missions to Germany in WWII. On each mission there was a 3% (I beleive) mortality rate. After only 20 missions 60% of the original 60% of the original group was dead. For this reason, crews were limited to 25 missions. This gave them at least some chance of survival.
I hate this expression but ... "because they can". The word "catholic" means "universal". There are many 'catholic' churches that have nothing to do with the Roman Catholic church.
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