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Condom Ads Target Catholics


While some people of faith debate theology or try to reconcile religion with sexuality, others have taken the initiative in a different direction altogether, insisting upon the idea that sex for pleasure is compatible with devout practice.

The Washington D.C.-based Catholics for a Free Choice recently launched a series of giant ads and posters in San Francisco and other cities to encourage safer sex as well as to raise awareness about the Vaticans ban on condoms. The ads feature a variety of couples promoting the messages, including a gay male couple, whose faith and sexuality are not presented as a conflict when they declare, “We believe in God. We believe sex is sacred. We believe in protecting each other. We believe in using condoms”.

The campaign–called Condoms4Life–was launched nationwide on Valentine’s Day, though some ads appeared prior to that date.

“We see St. Valentines Day, a day representing love and passion for many couples, as the perfect time to remind people that the culture of life means affirming responsible and just sexual behavior…there are too many leaders in our church who are doing more harm—even abetting the spread of HIV—because of their refusal to incorporate condoms into their work with AIDS patients. The bishops talk about promoting a culture of life, and then some go out and actually lie about condoms effectiveness”, said a statement from the group.

Catholics for a Free Choice President Frances Kissling told the Bay Area Reporterthat placing gay couples on the same plane as married couples was indeed a statement about the validity of all relationships, but that using the word “sacred” to describe sex did not have to mean a stance for or against any particular type of sexual partnering.

“We dont really think in those terms. The ethical standard that we would put forward for sexuality is not marriage, it’s justice. You can have justice in what some people would call a ‘casual’ relationship and in what some people would call a marriage, and you can have injustice in both of those as well,” said Kissling.

In addition to the posters, Condoms4Life will distribute to caregivers, educators, and people of faith a variety of materials on HIV/AIDS and information about Catholic institutions that provide HIV/AIDS education, treatment, and prevention.

The San Francisco Archdiocese refrained from commenting on the group but directed the B.A.R. to the Web site of theVatican for the church’s official stance on issues of sexuality and reproduction.

Catholics for a Free Choice “shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to womens well being and respect and affirm the moral capacity of women and men to make sound decisions about their lives,” according to the organization.

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This article originally appeared in the Bay Area Reporter.

Catholics for Choice