The Lesser Evil: The Catholic Church and the AIDS Epidemic

By Patricia Miller
Autumn 2001

“When priests preach against using contraception, they are committing a serious mistake which is costing human lives.” With this distinctly undiplomatic language, Peter Piot, head of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), voiced the international community’s continuing distress over the Catholic church’s policy on condoms. “We do not ask the church to promote contraception, but merely to stop banning its use,” Piot told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper following the United Nations’ conference on AIDS this past summer. The three-day special UN session stressed the need for nations to begin to talk plainly about AIDS in response to a catastrophic pandemic that has taken 22 million lives in less than 20 years. The final conference document specifically noted the need for countries to expand access to condoms within five years.

Apparently the Catholic church was not listening to the unprecedented statement that many took as a sign that the world was finally ready to deal with the AIDS epidemic in a serious way. Archbishop Javier Lozano, who headed the Vatican delegation to the meeting, called for a prevention strategy revolving around “matrimonial fidelity” and “chastity and abstinence,” while excluding “campaigns associated with models of behavior which destroy life and promote the spread of the evil in question”-a clear reference to the safe sex and condom education campaigns that the meeting delegates had affirmed as essential to halting AIDS.

Lozano’s statement foreshadowed a remarkable series of events that occurred later in the summer in southern Africa that illustrated both the deep discontent within the Catholic church hierarchy over condom policy and the intractability of the policy. How this struggle is ultimately resolved may be key to finally controlling AIDS on the African continent and to the future credibility of the Catholic church.

The Hierarchy and Condoms

Despite the Vatican’s complete refusal to consider a change in policy regarding condoms for HIV/AIDS prevention, bishops’ conferences around the world have suggested that condom use may be acceptable in some circumstances to prevent AIDS. In 1989 the French Bishops Council was one of the first to side against the Vatican on the subject, saying of AIDS, “The whole population and especially the young should be informed of the risks. Prophylactic measures exist.” In 1996, the French bishops said that condom use “can be understood in the case of people for whom sexual activity is an ingrained part of their lifestyle and for whom [that activity] represents a serious risk”.3 In 1993, the German bishops conference noted: “In the final analysis, human conscience constitutes the decisive authority in personal ethics … consideration must be given …to the spread of AIDS. It is a moral duty to prevent such suffering, even if the underlying behavior cannot be condoned in many cases … The church … has to respect responsible decision-making by couples.”4

Given the discontent with the Vatican’s AIDS policy previously expressed by bishops in countries only marginally affected by the disease, many church watchers felt that the exploding AIDS epidemic in Africa might propel the church hierarchy on that continent to act decisively on the question of condoms. The stage was set in July prior to the semi-annual meeting of the bishops of southern Africa, when several prominent bishops spoke out in favor of condom use to control the spread of HIV/AIDS. Bishop Reginald Cawcutt of Cape Town, South Africa, caused a storm of controversy when he said that condoms could be used to prevent AIDS. He later backtracked a little to say “ideally” the best way to stop AIDS was “through stopping sex,” but added that there is “a big difference between the ideal and the reality.” He said, “Abstain until you are in a stable relationship, preferably marriage, whether it be gay or straight, or whatever.” Noting that condoms often fail due to misuse, he added that those at risk of contracting AIDS should learn to use condoms correctly.5

Shortly before the meeting of the bishops from the southern part of Africa was set to begin, Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenberg, South Africa, raised expectations even higher when he formally announced that the bishops would consider a change in condom policy, noting that people with AIDS had a responsibility not to transmit death. He said, “When people for whatever reason choose not to follow the values we promote as church-within and outside of our community-then the bottom line is the real possibility that a person could transmit a death-dealing virus to another through a sexual encounter. Such people, who are living with the virus, must be invited and challenged to take responsibility for their actions and their effect on others. They should use a condom in order to prevent the transmission of potential death to another.”6

Dowling, who coordinates the South African bishops’ AIDS Office, also noted, “My personal stance on this issue comes out of much reflection, not to say anguish over the enormity of the suffering of people in the AIDS pandemic.”7 He added in an interview with the Sunday Times in South Africa, “Every week I am with people dying in their huts and shacks, mothers and emaciated babies. I am with them all the time.”8

Dowling’s view was seconded by Bishop Cawcutt, who said bishops felt “we have to be able to say something.” He added, “We need the wisdom of Solomon. And we know-we’re really, really aware-that the world is waiting for us. So is the Vatican.”9

Dowling’s views were contained in a draft pastoral statement that was considered by the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) at its annual policy meeting in late July. At least one retired archbishop from the region, Denis Hurley of Durban, was reported to have backed Dowling’s stand, at least for married couples in which one partner was infected with HIV.10 And Gunther Simmermacher, editor of the Southern Cross, a South African Catholic paper that voiced approval of the draft statement in an editorial, said, “Most bishops and senior priests I have talked to who work on the ground on the AIDS issue seem to support what Bishop Dowling has said, completely or in part. How much support there is within the hierarchy is another matter.”11

Even Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, president of the Southern African Bishops Conference, which includes bishops from South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, acknowledged that the bishops would consider a change in policy, saying the policy change would “have to be weighed up against the backdrop of not only the church’s traditional teaching, but also current scientific evidence about the quality, effectiveness and actual usability of condoms in situations which pose the greatest risk of infection.”12

In the end, however, after five days of closed-door debate, expectations were dashed when the SACBC rejected the draft statement and reaffirmed the church’s total ban on condoms for any use, specifically condemning the use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission in an ironically titled “Message of Hope.” “The Bishops regard the widespread and indiscriminate promotion of condoms as an immoral and misguided weapon in our battle against HIV/AIDS,” read the SACBC statement. The bishops went on to say that “condoms may even be one of the main reasons for the spread of HIV/AIDS.”13

The bishops did say that the only circumstances in which condoms could possibly be used were by a married couple in which one partner was HIV positive. Even then, Cardinal Napier said, condoms could only be used if the couple abstained from sex when the woman was ovulating.14

The bishops’ statement on AIDS immediately drew criticism. Mark Heywood of the Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa’s leading AIDS activist group, said, “It’s a very unfortunate position for them to adopt and make so public. Condom use is the major way we have in blocking new HIV infections.”15 A group of 14 nuns calling themselves Sisters for Justice were joined by 62 supporters in issuing a statement entitled “Continuing the Conversation.” The statement said that the bishops’ message on AIDS was not directed to women in “abusive, oppressive or desperate relationships or circumstances and who are very much at risk of being infected by HIV.” They added, “It is entirely within the context of the AIDS pandemic in our country that the use of a condom to prevent infection of one’s sexual partner could be seen to be permissible.”16

Jesuit priest Jon Fuller, a doctor with the Clinical AIDS Program in Boston, questioned the logic of the bishops’ statement, saying, “The bishops recognize the legitimate use of condoms in marriage-but if they say condoms are not effective, then why recommend them? Why is it OK to use them to protect married couples, but not other lives-the lives of sex workers and their partners, or the people who choose not to be abstinent or in marriage?”17

AIDS in Africa

Africa is widely considered the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic, and the impact of the disease there has been devastating. More than 25 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV out of the total 34.3 million people infected worldwide, giving sub-Saharan Africa approximately three-quarters of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases. This number includes 4.5 million South Africans, which makes South Africa the country with the single largest population of people who have HIV/AIDS.18 South Africa’s adult infection rate is a staggering 20%, while in neighboring Botswana it is the highest in the world–37%, or nearly four out of 10 people between the ages of 15 to 49.19 And in a chilling preview of what can happen if AIDS is left to spread unchecked in Africa, HIV infection rates of nearly 50% have been recorded in some parts of Botswana and South Africa.20

AIDS is literally reshaping the demographics of Africa. In Zimbabwe, average life expectancy is expected to be halved by AIDS by the year 2010-from 61 years to 39 years.21 As a result of the AIDS pandemic, South Africa’s total labor force is expected to decrease 21% by 2015.22 According to UNICEF, there is a disproportionately high rate of HIV infection among teachers in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya alone, 1,500 teachers died of AIDS in 1999.23

Of the 34.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, 15.7 million are women and 1.3 million are children. According to the World Health Organization, half of all those with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa are women, and 25% of those with HIV/AIDS in South and Southeast Asia are women.24 Women accounted for 2.3 million of the 5.4 million new infections in 1999, while children accounted for 620,000. An estimated 13.2 million children have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.25 According to the United Nations, approximately 10% of children in sub-Saharan Africa are parentless as a result of AIDS.26

A recent study by the World Bank and the UN said that in the African nations of Kenya, Zambia, Benin and Cameroon, HIV infection “is exploding among very young women. In the hardest-hit areas, some 15% to 23% of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are HIV positive, versus only 4% of boys.27 The World Health Organization linked rising HIV infection rates in women and girls to their “lack of control in their sexual health relationships and, hence, over many aspects of their health.28

The Church’s Response to AIDS

One of the most startling ironies of AIDS in Africa is that despite the Catholic church’s ban on the key element of comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention strategies, the Catholic church is a major provider of AIDS care and services on the continent and in other parts of the world. Approximately 12% of all AIDS care worldwide is provided by Catholic church organizations, while 13% is provided by Catholic nongovernmental organizations, meaning that Catholic church-related organizations are providing some 25% of the AIDS care worldwide–making it the largest institution in the world providing direct AIDS care.29,30 The South African Catholic Bishops Conference’s AIDS Office supports 85 projects and programs in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa, making it one of the largest anti-HIV/AIDS programs in southern Africa and active in many of the countries with the world’s highest rate of HIV infection.31

The church’s programs include caring for orphans of the AIDS epidemic and working to place them in foster homes and helping to support foster families, education and “prevention” programs for primary and secondary school students, home care and counseling programs for people who are HIV positive, in-patient units for terminally ill patients who have no one to care for them, and a program to provide drugs to reduce the incidence of mother-to-child transmission.32

These programs are very much in keeping with the church’s anti-AIDS strategy, which is heavy on abstinence messages and treatment for those who are already ill. In his message to the recent UN special session in HIV/AIDS, Pope John Paul II named access to drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission and general access to anti-retroviral drugs for AIDS patients as two of the most pressing issues facing developing countries, especially Africa.33 But while the church calls on developed nations to devote more resources to drug access, it deplores the most effective method of halting the spread of HIV: condom education, use and distribution.

The Vatican’s unwillingness to confront the reality of AIDS was apparent when it held its first conference on AIDS in 1989. At that point, the threat of the disease had become apparent to all in the international community. The Vatican meeting began on a contentious note when AIDS patients who were invited to the meeting were prevented from speaking. In protest of their exclusion, John White, an Irish priest who is HIV positive and was attending the conference as a delegate from AIDS Link, held up a sign reading “The Church Has AIDS.” White was ejected from the meeting and put in a Vatican police cell until it was determined he was a priest. White’s protest did not succeed in forcing the church to listen to those with AIDS. Archbishop Fiorenzo Angelini said the meeting was “for AIDS sufferers, not of them.”34

Despite the rising toll of AIDS since 1989, the Vatican has consistently opposed safe sex education at UN meetings. The Vatican delegations to all of the major humanitarian meetings of the 1990s–the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW), and the five-year follow up meeting to the ICPD–unequivocally condemned the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The delegation to the FWCW stated: “The Holy See in no way endorses contraception or the use of condoms, either as a family planning measure or in HIV/AIDS prevention programs.”35

At the recent UN meeting on AIDS, where the final conference declaration called for countries to increase access to condoms by 2005, the Holy See delegation reiterated its complete ban on condoms to prevent HIV: “The Holy See wishes to emphasize that, with regard to the use of condoms as a means of preventing HIV infection it has in no way changed its moral position.”36

At the Vatican’s conference on AIDS last year, Father Felice Ruffini, undersecretary to the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, also noted that it is not acceptable for married couples to use condoms to prevent infection if one partner is HIV positive, noting only that “it’s tough to be able to maintain matrimonial chastity in this case.”37

In addition to insisting that there is no room within Catholic theology to allow the compassionate use of condoms, officials of the Catholic church have repeatedly tried to cast doubt on the effectiveness of condoms in fighting AIDS. In Kenya, even as the government belatedly declared that the AIDS epidemic was reaching crisis levels, Catholic Bishop John Njue propagated false scientific information by claiming that condoms are to blame for the spread of AIDS.38 Shortly after AIDS was declared a national emergency in the country and the government officially embraced the use of condoms to curb the epidemic–over the loud objections of the Catholic church–a member of the Kenyan Parliament called the church “the greatest impediment in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”39 The impact of the church is so great that Paul Delay, who heads USAID’s AIDS programs, said the agency has asked the Catholic church not to say anything about condoms “if you can’t say anything nice,” particularly in regard to casting doubts on the effectiveness of condoms.40

In 1997, a doctor who is a member of the Vatican Council for the Family said that using condoms will not prevent HIV infection. Father Jacques Suaudeau wrote in the journal Medicina e Morale, “Using a condom to protect yourself against HIV amounts to playing Russian roulette.”41 A report from the National Institutes of Health in the United States recently confirmed the predominant medical opinion that “consistent and correct condom use prevents…HIV infection.”42 Despite medical opinion confirming the use of condoms to prevent HIV, it seems as if the church’s anti-condom propaganda may be winning converts. A recent survey conducted by the Kenyan Media Institute found that 54% of Kenyans do not believe that condoms are effective in preventing HIV and that “condoms encourage immorality, which exposes people to the risk of contracting the virus.”43

In Africa and around the world the hierarchy of the Catholic church has worked actively to suppress condom use, education and distribution. In 1996, the local Roman Catholic church in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, prevented the distribution of one million condoms by health and election officials at polling stations during a primary election. Honduras has the highest incidence of AIDS in Central America.44 That same year, in Nairobi, Kenya, Cardinal Maurice Otunga, Kenya’s leading Roman Catholic church official, burned boxes of condoms and safe sex literature.45 After Brazil launched an innovative AIDS prevention program that stressed the need for the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, Brazilian Roman Catholic officials criticized the program for not stressing abstinence. Cardinal Eugenio Sales of Rio de Janeiro said the campaign would stimulate sexual activity, thereby spreading AIDS.46 Just this year in Zambia, health officials withdrew a hard-hitting anti-AIDS campaign that urged safe sex and condom use after the church complained that it promoted promiscuity.47

On the issue of safe sex education, particularly for teenagers and young adults, the church has been even more aggressive, only recognizing the need for sexuality education within the limits of monogamous, heterosexual marriage, impeding the development of much-needed programs that address contraception in any context, including condoms to prevent AIDS. In 1996, the Vatican issued new sexual education guidelines, “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family,” which attacks school-based sexual education and says parents should have the primary role in teaching their children about sexuality. It calls on parents to refute teachings about “safe sex” and condemns contraception.48

The Catholic church has persistently opposed efforts to develop a comprehensive sexual education curriculum for schools in Kenya, despite the declarations of international bodies like the UN AIDS conference that sexual education is key to fighting AIDS. When Kenya did develop a comprehensive sexual education curriculum, it was shelved because of vocal opposition from the Catholic church.49 The New York Catholic Conference fought to block a condom-distribution and education program for New York City public school students because it did not give primacy to their message that abstinence is the only way for young adults to protect themselves from AIDS, even as AIDS rates for youth increased dramatically.50 The Peruvian Bishops’ Conference condemned a sexual education program developed for that country’s schools, saying that the “program is centered only in providing biological information and is disconnected from any moral value or sense of responsibility.51

Catholic Support for Condom Use

While the church strives to present a monolithic view on condom use, cracks are appearing in the facade. In an article entitled “Tolerant Signals” published in America magazine last September, two Jesuit priests, Jon Fuller and James Keenan, detected in a recent article in the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano “important signals” of a liberalization in the Vatican’s AIDS policy. They wrote that it confirmed their suspicion that “while individual bishops and archbishops have occasionally repudiated local H.I.V. prevention programs that include the distribution of prophylactics (more commonly referred to as condoms), the Roman Curia is more tolerant on the matter.”52 While the Vatican was quick to deny any official change in policy, the salient points in the Fuller/Keenan analysis of the L’Osservatore Romano article still stand: the publication of the article in the official paper of the Curia “is a sign that the article represents a broad constituency of curial thinking; the article endorses a broad view of prevention within a Christian sexual ethic; the article “does not attack the endorsement, promotion, distribution or use of prophylactics;” the article distinguishes between containment and prevention, claiming only that condoms are inadequate for prevention; the articles does not categorically deny the effectiveness of condoms and “recognizes the positive function the prophylactics have played in two populations critically affected by the HIV epidemic;” and finally it “recognizes the use of prophylactics as a lesser evil.”53

Similarly, Bishop Eugenio Rixen of Brasilia, Brazil, created a firestorm in that country when he suggested last year at a meeting of the Brazilian Bishops Pastoral Health Commission that condom use to prevent HIV infection was a “lesser evil.” Although the comment stirred optimism that a relaxing of the church’s policy might be in the offing, Rixen was quickly rebuked by Sao Paulo Archbishop Claudio Hummes.54

At a forum sponsored this past summer by the AIDS Society of the Philippines, Jesuit James Keenan, a theologian at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA, said it is “morally acceptable” for sexual partners to use condoms to prevent HIV infection because of the principle of “less evil.” Keenan said, “Condoms for HIV are the same [as] condoms for contraception. Here we can see the principle of double effect. If a husband violates his marital vows and sleeps with other women he must make sure that he does not transmit the virus to his wife, else he would be violating the principle of justice. This is where the principle of lesser evil comes in.”55

What the Future Holds

Recalling a visit to nuns on the Ivory Coast who were quietly promoting condom use, UNAIDS’ Piot said, “What we are seeing now is that there is a debate going on in the Catholic church. Clearly there are many Roman Catholics who feel uncomfortable with the current official position.56 Despite this discomfort, official change may be slow to come. John Allen, the National Catholic Reporter’sVatican correspondent, says that the furor over the L’Osservatore Romano article shows how hard it may be to moderate the Vatican’s position. He predicts that beyond the open issue of the AIDS politics of the next pope, whomever is chosen by the pope to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith–which has the last word on Vatican orthodoxy–may well play a key role in crafting a more flexible position, if there is to be one. “If he were to rotate someone like [Bishop] Kasper into that spot, for example, I would expect a somewhat more flexible line,” Allen said in an interview via email while he was covering the recent bishops’ synod in Rome.

“I think the real difference is between those in the curia who are genuinely convinced that every use of a condom is intrinsically evil, and those who believe the church needs to repeat this as an ideal but who are quite comfortable with the fact that lots of people will make decisions in conscience that go in a different direction. It’s the old ‘if the pope were here, he would understand’ mentality,” Allen notes.

John White, the priest who was kicked out of the first Vatican AIDS conference and eventually left the church after disclosing his HIV status, said of the church’s response to AIDS: “I feel the church does not have any significant response on this matter. Ten or twelve years ago I would have felt this and it saddens me that this far down the line, little, if anything, has changed. There was a time, when I was still with the church, I would have hoped that change could possibly be effected-from within and thereby have remained within the church and my ministry.”

“The core of all the problems around HIV/AIDS is being unable to deal adequately with sexuality,” says White, adding, “If AIDS were merely an infectious disease, then there would be little difficulty for the church in dealing with it. But as it entails dealing with alternative lifestyles-particularly homosexuality-sex outside of marriage, drug use, etc., it becomes something the church cannot possibly deal with until they have first dealt with these core issues.”


1 “Church’s stand against contraception costs lives,” Agence France Presse, June 29, 2001.
2 Archbishop Lozano, “Aspects of Response to the AIDS Pandemic,” UN Special Session, Aug. 2, 2001.
3 French Bishops Council, “AIDS: Society in Question,” 1996.
4 German Bishops Conference, “Bevölkerungs-wachstum und Entwicklungsforderung (Population Policy and Development),” 1993.
5 “Tackling HIV/AIDS religiously,” Africa News, July 20, 2001.
6 Anthony Stoppard, “Catholic Church to Rethink Stance on AIDS,” Inter Press Service, July 16, 2001.
7 Anthony Stoppard, “Catholic Church to Rethink Stance on AIDS,” Inter Press Service, July 16, 2001.
8 Carmel Rickard, “Catholic Bishop Says Yes to Condoms,” Sunday Times (South Africa), July
9 Karen DeYoung, “AIDS challenges religious leaders,” Washington Post, August 13, 2001.
10 Anthony Stoppard, “Catholic Church to Rethink Stance on AIDS,” Inter Press Service, July 16, 2001.
11 Ed O’Loughlin, “Bishop Urges New Look at Condom Ban,” The Scotsman, July 21, 2001.
12 “South African Bishops Consider Backing Condom Use,” Catholic World News, July 12, 2001.
13 “African Bishops’ Tough-Love Statement on AIDS,” Zenit News, August 3, 2001.
14 Teresa Malcolm, “African bishops reject condoms to counter AIDS,” National Catholic Reporter, August 10, 2001.
15 Steven Swindells, “African bishops slam condom use in AIDS fight,” Reuters, July 30, 2001.
16 “Condoms as a lesser evil,” Statement by Sisters for Justice, The Tablet, August 25, 2001.
17 Teresa Malcolm, “African bishops reject condoms to counter AIDS,” National Catholic Reporter, August 10, 2001.
18 Teresa Malcolm, “African bishops reject condoms to counter AIDS,” National Catholic Reporter, August 10, 2001.
19 “S. Africa clerics seek to relax condom ban,” AP, July 12, 2001.
20 “Half of Pregnant Women at Durban Clinic HIV+,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, March 9, 1999.
21 “Zimbabwe: AIDS Lowering Life Expectancy,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, Oct. 16, 1998.
22 ” HIV/AIDS May Reduce South African’s Gross National Product 5.7% by 2015,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, Sept. 26, 2001.
23 “AIDS Causing Severe Teacher Shortage,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, July 25, 2000.
24 “AIDS: Regional Statistics and Features,” World Health Organization, December 1997.
25 “Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” UNAIDS, June 2000.
26 “Number of African AIDS Orphans, Orphan Centers Growing While Traditional Family Support Breaks Down,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, Aug. 9, 2001.
27 “Epidemic ‘Exploding Among Teen Girls in Africa,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, Sept. 15, 1999.
28 “Kenya: Rise in HIV Rates Linked to Lack of Female Empowerment,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, Aug. 4, 2000. 29 “Matrimonial Fidelity and Chastity to Prevent AIDS,” Vatican Information Service, June 28, 2001.
30 Karen DeYoung, “AIDS Challenges Religious Leaders,” The Washington Post, August 13, 2001. 31 Anthony Stoppard, “Catholic Church to Rethink Stance on AIDS,” Inter Press Service, July 16, 2001. 32 Anthony Stoppard, “Catholic Church to Rethink Stance on AIDS,” Inter Press Service, July 16, 2001. 33 Pope John Paul II, Message to U.N. Session on HIV/AIDS, Origins, August 2, 2001. 34 Jennifer Parmelee, “Pope Condemns Bias Against Victims of AIDS,” Washington Post, Nov. 16, 1989. 35 Statement by Professor Mary Ann Glendon at the Concluding Session of the Fourth International Conference on Women, 9/15/95; see also “Holy See: Partial Association with the [Cairo] Consensus,” First Things, 9/22/94; Statement of Bishop James McHugh to the ICPD PrepCom, 3/24/99. 36 Karen DeYoung, “AIDS Challenges Religious Leaders,” The Washington Post, August 13, 2001. 37 Teresa Malcolm, “African Bishops Reject Condoms to Counter AIDS,” National Catholic Reporter, Aug. 10, 2001. 38 “Beware of Condom Use-Bishop,” The Nation (Kenya), Nov. 2, 1999.
39 “Catholic Stand on Disease Critisized,” The Nation (Kenya), Nov. 29, 1999. 40 Karen DeYoung, “AIDS Challenges Religious Leaders,” The Washington Post, Aug. 13, 2001. 41 “Is There Such a Thing as Safe Sex?” Catholic Times, Oct. 26, 1997.
42 Willard Cates, “The NIH Condom Report,” Family Planning Perspectives, September/October 2001.
43 “Most Kenyans Afraid of AIDS Text,” Xinhua General News Service, Sept. 24, 2001.
44 “Honduran Church Blasted for Halting Condom Giveaway,” Reuters, Nov. 28, 1996.
45 “Kenya-Condoms,” AP, Aug. 31, 1996.
46 “Brazil Church Blasts Anti-AIDS Campaign,” UPI, Sept. 19, 1995.
47 Steven Swindells, “African Bishops Slam Condom Use in AIDS Fight,” Reuters, July 30, 2001.
48 “The Pontifical Council on the Family, “Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality,” January 1996.
49 “Kenya Says No to Sexual Education,” The Catholic World Report, Aug.-Sept. 1996.
50 “Catholic Conference Opposes Condom Distribution,” The Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, July, 26, 1991.
51 “Sexual-Education Showdown,” Catholic World Report, March 1996.
52 Jon Fuller and James Keenan, “Tolerant Signals,” America, Sept. 23, 2000.
53 Jon Fuller and James Keenan, “Tolerant Signals,” America, Sept. 23, 2000.
54 Karen DeYoung, “AIDS Challenges Religious Leaders,” Washington Post, Aug. 13, 2001.
55 “Catholic Theologian Explains How Theology Allows for Condom Use Against HIV,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, Aug. 9, 2001.
56 Karen DeYoung, “AIDS Challenges Religious Leaders,” Washington Post, Aug. 13, 2001.


Patricia Miller is editor of Conscience and director of writing and research at Catholics for a Free Choice.

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