Press Releases 2006

Participants at International AIDS Conference to Ask Pope Benedict XVI to Lift Ban on Condoms

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Condoms4Life Campaign Urges Vatican to Promote Culture of Life

TORONTO—As tens of thousands of activists, providers and concerned individuals gather for the XVI International AIDS Conference, the Condoms4Life campaign (www.condoms4life.org) is spearheading an initiative to encourage the Vatican to drop its ban on condoms and join others in the active prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the world.

From the opening moments of the conference, attendees will have a chance to ask Pope Benedict XVI to lift the ban on condoms and join in efforts to promote ethical, comprehensive and balanced approaches to HIV/AIDS.

In April of this year, sources close to the new pope indicated he had requested that senior theologians and scientists prepare a document on condom use as a means of preventing HIV transmission.  Although some Vatican insiders—including Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council on the Family, who claims condoms have minute holes through which the virus is transmitted (“Sex and the Holy City,” BBC/Panorama, October 12, 2003)—have insisted there will be no relaxing of the ban, Catholics and non-Catholics around the world remain hopeful that the church will change this policy.

“A change in Vatican policy is critical.  You can’t keep talking about a culture of life and turn a blind eye to the suffering and dying.  You can’t tell people to love and care for one another and deny them the means by which to protect each other,” said Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice and founder of Condoms4Life.  “More than two dozen bishops and bishops’ conferences have asked for a change.  Catholic people get it.  People spending their lives fighting this pandemic get it.  Lifting this cruel and stigmatizing ban on condoms would be a positive and life-affirming move for this new pope.”

Recent data from the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS indicate that since Benedict XVI became pope on April 19, 2005,

  • 5.5 million people have acquired HIV, and
  • 3.7 million people have died of AIDS-related causes.

The statement will be circulated for signatures at the Condoms4Life booth (F-434) in the Main Exhibition Hall at the AIDS conference.

For more information about the Condoms4Life campaign, please visit www.condoms4life.org.

To sign the letter asking Pope Benedict XVI to lift the Ban on Condoms, please visithttp://www.catholicsforchoice.org/action-alerts/

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Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.