South African Catholic Newspaper Backs Condom Use for Married Couples
The Southern Cross Journal, a "leading" South African Catholic newspaper, has asked the church to consider "relax[ing] its blanket ban" on condom usage when the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference meets on July 24, BBC News reports. Editor Gunther Simmermacher, writing in support of Bishop Kevin Dowling, who has requested that condoms be addressed at the conference next week, said that condoms have an "important role to play in preventing the transmission of HIV" and should not be considered a contraceptive when being used to "prevent against HIV infection," but should be regarded instead as a "means of preserving human life." Simmermacher said that the paper "only" supports the use of condoms among married couples where one partner has HIV, adding that the "real answer" to the nation's HIV epidemic is to "educate people to avoid promiscuous behavior." Simmermacher said that the paper has received "little response" to the editorial, but most Catholics will not see it until this coming Sunday when it will be available at mass. Archbishop Francisco Colacco, the Vatican's representative in South Africa, said he does not think the conference will endorse condom usage (Podger, BBC News, 7/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.