Catholic Church Risks ‘Suicide’ in Latin America With Ban on Contraceptive Use, Opinion Piece Says
Unless the Catholic Church "changes course" on issues such as contraception and condom use to prevent HIV transmission, then it "may come close to committing suicide" in Latin America, columnist Nicholas Kristof writes in a New York Times opinion piece. Although many Catholics in the region "identif[y] strongly with a local church" and find "spiritual comfort there," they are "soured by some Vatican dogma" and therefore have "quietly seceded from the Vatican's control on sexual issues," Kristof says. "The Catholic Church's ban on condoms doesn't function here in Brazil. We partner with priests to give out condoms," Jose Roberto Prazeres, a psychologist at an AIDS center in Sao Paulo, said, according to Kristof. Rev. Valeriano Paitoni, a "widely admired" priest in Sao Paulo who runs "first-rate" shelters for AIDS orphans, said most Brazilian Catholics want to see the church change its policies on birth control, homosexuality, marriage of priests and the role of women, Kristof writes. "If the church doesn't have the courage to take these issues up and listen to science and the world, then there'll be a disaster," Paitoni said, according to Kristof. Unless the Catholic Church "reconnects with ordinary people" in Latin America -- the "tens of millions who find spiritual meaning in their pews but have been turned off by many church positions -- then the Vatican's obstinacy may yet kindle a Re-Reformation," Kristof concludes (Kristof, New York Times, 5/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.