Newsday Columnist Urges Catholic Leaders to End Opposition to Condom Use
Although some European and African Catholic bishops have stated that condom use to prevent HIV transmission is a "lesser evil" than other forms of contraception, U.S. bishops have refused to endorse this view, suggesting that American Catholic leaders "would rather see [their] flock dead than sheathed," Newsday columnist Marie Cocco writes. Catholic leaders say that condoms promote promiscuous behavior and thus help spread HIV, but these arguments run counter to public health consensus, Cocco writes. When juxtaposed with the numerous recent revelations of sex abuse by Catholic priests, the church's position on sex and condom use constitutes "hypocrisy," Cocco states. She notes reports of priests sexually abusing nuns in Africa, stating, "The rape of nuns is a novel AIDS prevention technique. Surely it is not morally superior to the condom." American bishops are "much in need of a way to show ethical leadership" amidst the current sex scandals, and they could start by "com[ing] clean on condoms," Cocco says. Cocco states that the Catholic Church is the world's single largest provider of care to people affected by HIV/AIDS, but it could help prevent HIV transmission by ending its opposition to condoms. She concludes that the church has a "moral obligation" to change its anti-condom stance (Cocco, Newsday, 4/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.