I have plenty of beef with the Catholic Church (as long time readers already know), but my biggest beef is the fact that the Pope refuses to acknowledge that condoms prevent the spread of HIV and will NOT condone the use of condoms by Catholics for this purpose.
This image pretty much sums up my argument nicely:
Way to sentence the Faithful to death, Pope.
However, there are some sensible Catholics out there (sensible = knowledgeable yet questioning) who do not live and breathe by the Pope's edicts. The non-profit Catholics for Choice is an excellent example. In conjunction with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, they created a series of Spanish-language radio ads to encourage Latino Catholics to use condoms and to let them know that it is not wrong/immoral to use condoms to protect yourself against HIV.
This first ad is a grandmother talking about her gay grandson. Despite the Church's teachings, she encourages him to use condoms. She tells her grandson, "I took care of you because I love you and if you love that man, you'll take care of him, too."
In this ad, a couple uses Catholic rhetoric, describing sex as sacred but then they conclude, "We are Catholics and people of faith and we know sex is sacred and that we need to take care of each other. And this means using a condom every time we have sex."
These radio ads will be featured on NYC radio for the month of December. But the message is so incredibly groundbreaking, I wish Catholics for Choice had funding to air these abroad. There are many people, especially those in Latin American countries, who attempt to live and breathe the Pope's edicts regarding what good Catholics do and do not do. The HIV infection rate in these countries is steadily increasing and the Church's teachings that condoms are bad/don't work certainly do NOTHING to curb the spread of HIV.
According to the Vatican, condoms are wrong. According to Catholic bishops worldwide, condoms:
- are "contaminated with HIV in order to finish quickly the African people.” Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, Maputo, Mozambique
- encourage “inappropriate sexual activity.” Cardinal Edward M Egan, New York in a statement denouncing NYC's plan to distribute millions of free condoms to fight the spread of HIV
- "turn life into a life without responsibility” and "the use of the condom encourages people to have inconsequential and irresponsible sex.” Cardinal Geraldo Majella Angelo, Brazil, right before Pope Benedict visited the country
- make "promiscuity increase since a majority of our people end up engaging in casual sex.” Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki, Nairobi during the opening of the national religious leaders’ conference on stigma, denial and discrimination in Kenya
The funny thing is that one of the earliest teachings I remember from Catholic school is that God gave us all Free Will. Apparently, the Church thinks that a little piece of latex is so damn powerful that we give up our Free Will when we use them and, instead, give in to our bodily urges. So according to the Church, condoms are a Catholic's kryptonite.
According to Science (oh yes, that unGodly source of information and knowlege), condoms help prevent the transmission of HIV (and other STIs). This wouldn't be the first time that the Catholic Church has ignored Science and then was proven wrong (remember that time when they thought the world was flat?). And if this anti-condom stance is about a no-sex-outside-of-marriage thing, then I can show you a number of faithful, married women who have tested positive for HIV thanks to their unfaithful husbands.
So, how about it, Pope? How about you let the Church come into the 21st century (and be relevant) and allow Catholics to use condoms?
Heck, the sensible Catholics already do.
source for above quotes: catholicsforchoice.org