NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ Profiles South African Bishop Kevin Dowling
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Wednesday profiled Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, who has become a "leading opponent" of the Catholic Church's ban on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. Dowling decided the church's ban on condoms is "morally unacceptable" after witnessing the "incredible suffering" HIV/AIDS has caused in a mining town west of Pretoria, where many women engage in commercial sex work in order to feed themselves and their children, according to NPR. Almost half of the pregnant women who visited Dowling's health clinic in 2003 and 2004 were HIV-positive, NPR reports. Dowling said that he would like the Vatican to adopt the "humble attitude" of, "Here we are facing a pandemic which has catastrophic effects on all facets of society, and therefore we don't pretend that we can have a black and white answer that fits every aspect of people's lives." The Southern Africa Catholic Bishops' Conference has denounced Dowling's views and said that condoms are "immoral" and a "misguided weapon in the fight against HIV," but Dowling is "pushing forward" with his work, and the church has taken no action against him, according to NPR. The segment includes comments from Dowling, the head nurse at Dowling's health clinic, a nurse at the 30-bed hospice Dowling recently opened and HIV/AIDS patients at the hospice (Beaubien, "Morning Edition," NPR, 11/30).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.