South African Catholic Bishops Criticize Group’s Campaign Against Church’s Stance on Condoms
The South African Catholic Bishops' Conference on Monday criticized a Catholics For a Free Choice advertising campaign that takes issue with the church's stand on condoms, saying that condoms are "as likely to promote promiscuity as anything else," the South African Press Association reports. The ads -- which read, "Banning Condoms Kills" and "Catholic People Care, Do Our Bishops?" -- are running in a Cape Town newspaper and will be featured on highway billboards near Cape Town and Johannesburg. They are part of a worldwide campaign by the group against the Catholic Church's opposition to condoms even for HIV prevention (South African Press Association, 2/26). "The Catholic Church has a large following in African countries where AIDS is a big cause of death, and it is thus immoral for the church to be against the use of condoms in these changing times," Frances Kissling, president of CFFC, said (Associated Press, 2/22). However, SACBC spokesperson Bishop Reginald Cawcutt said that the group's efforts "sho[w] seriously muddled thinking." He said that the "church strongly supports and promotes -- as it has for 2,000 years -- value-based education and prevention programs. They are the only things that ultimately work." He also noted that the Catholic Bishops' AIDS Office is the "single largest provider" of HIV/AIDS services in South Africa, excluding the government. The bishops spent $1.2 million last year on 116 HIV/AIDS projects, including 10 orphan care projects, 31 prevention programs and 75 care and support programs for people with AIDS (South African Press Association, 2/26). The debate over condoms in South Africa came to a head last summer when a bishop proposed relaxing the church's stance on condoms in light of the nation's HIV/AIDS epidemic. That proposal was "abruptly rejected" by the SACBC, which called condoms an "immoral and misguided weapon" in the fight against the disease (Associated Press, 2/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.