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Condoms4Life Applauds Spanish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for Statements Supporting Condom Use

January 19, 2005

Statement of Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice,
on the Spanish church’s move toward a responsible and respectful position
on condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS.

WASHINGTON, DC—The Condoms4Life Campaign wishes to commend the Spanish Catholic bishops’ conference for joining other courageous bishops and making a public acknowledgment in support of condoms in the fight to prevent HIV/AIDS. After a meeting with the Health Minister Elena Salgado on Tuesday, 18 January, the bishops’ conference secretary general P. Juan Antonio Martínez Camino told reporters that “condoms are part of the integral and global prevention of AIDS.” This represents a big leap forward, as only last November Martínez Camino made comments questioning the efficacy of condoms as a method of prevention.

As Condoms4Life applauds the Spanish bishops and encourages other bishops to come forward in a similar way, we urge the Vatican to lift its ban on condoms as a moral and humanitarian matter. By the end of 2003, an estimated 37.8 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS, including the almost 5 million people who acquired HIV in 2003 alone. We ask bishops opposed to the use of condoms to clarify that their objections to condoms as a means of HIV/AIDS prevention are ecclesiastical, not scientific. Finally, we call upon the bishops and clergy to repudiate the incorrect information that has been circulated by officials of the Catholic church, and we strongly encourage all to be scrupulously honest in describing the effectiveness of condoms in the future.

The Condoms4Life Campaign is a worldwide public education effort to raise awareness about the devastating effect of the bishops’ ban on condoms. In 2004, Condoms4Life awarded Good Shepherd Awards to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium, Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, England, in support of their efforts to promote a compassionate and just position on condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS.