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Catholic Leader Disappointed that Kenyan Bishops Chose to Attack Catholics

May 7, 2013

“It is sad that the Kenya Episcopal Conference chose to attack Catholics today rather than addressing the critical issue raised by the Condoms4Life campaign, one that simply states the truth: We believe in God. We believe that sex is sacred. We believe in caring for each other. We believe in using condoms,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice.

“We, and many millions of Kenyans, are Catholic by our baptism. We are Catholic by our fidelity to the foundational teachings of our faith, among which is the indisputable primacy of the conscience in moral decision making. As we are taught, that conscience cannot and should not be coerced by leaders, either secular or religious.

“Catholics around the world embrace the belief that using a condom to protect ourselves and our loved ones is profoundly prolife—because it saves lives when we prevent HIV & AIDS. Majorities of Catholics polled in Ghana, Ireland, Mexico, the Philippines and the US agree. Kenyans recently asked about campaign wholeheartedly endorsed it. Many bishops around the world have encouraged the use of condoms where they’re needed for HIV prevention. Even Pope Benedict said that ‘where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection’ condoms can be ‘a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.’

“Catholics, from the pope in Rome to bishops and faithful laity everywhere, agree that condoms can, and even sometimes must, be used. But the Kenyan bishops reject all this wisdom, and instead order Kenyan Catholics to put their lives at risk.

“We continue to hope that Kenya’s bishops can listen and learn from Catholics from every walk of life and every country. People’s lives depend on it; the bishops’ intransigence is dangerous and disrespectful. But the church is not limited to the bishops. The church is the people of God, we who are baptized believers, laity and clergy together. We have a right, and indeed, a duty to speak up about matters that affect our lives. In the Condoms4Life campaign, we have. Our message is: Good Catholics use condoms.”