Good Catholics Use Condoms
New Phase of Condoms4Life Campaign Reaches Out to Gay Catholics
WASHINGTON, DC—A new global public education effort that is countering Vatican misinformation on condoms and seeking to end the Catholic bishops’ ban on condoms is now reaching out to gay Catholics. Using the message, “Good Catholics Use Condoms,” the latest phase of the Condoms4Life campaign features provocative and eye–catching ads with two gay men appearing on bus shelters throughout the United States capitol. Throughout 2004, newspaper and billboard advertisements, internet action alerts, and educational materials geared to reach Catholics at risk of HIV/AIDS with the truth about condoms will also appear in select cities in Latin America, North America, Europe and Africa.
This ad is one of a series of ads, also featuring heterosexual couples, that reaches out to the sexually active Catholic community using the core message that “Good Catholics Use Condoms.” The new ads focus on sexually active, gay Catholics and present a positive message of sexuality, responsibility and caring for others. The campaign acknowledges that sexually active gay Catholics are in as much need of information and support as the sexually active heterosexual population. This attitude is particularly necessary since the Vatican has come out so vehemently against same-sex relationships.
The ads appeal to people of faith noting that: “We believe in God. We believe that sex is sacred. We believe in caring for each other. We believe in using condoms.” The campaign aims to counter the message sent by the Catholic bishops worldwide that condoms are immoral and unsafe and is a direct challenge to the cardinals and bishops who recently claimed that condoms were helping to spread HIV/AIDS.
Sponsored by Catholics for a Free Choice, the Condoms4Life campaign has praised those bishops who support a change in church policy, such as Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels and Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa, who have both spoken out in favor of condoms as an AIDS prevention tool. Earlier this month, Bishop Danneels told the Roman Catholic television program Kruispunt in the Netherlands that if any HIV-positive person has sex not using a condom, they would be sinning against the fifth commandment—“You shall not kill.” Danneels went on to further defend the use of condoms saying that, “When someone is HIV-positive and his partner says ‘I want to have (sexual) relations with you,’ then he does not have to do it. But if he does, he has to use a condom. Otherwise he will commit a sin.” Similarly, Bishop Dowling wrote an article for the current issue of U.S. Catholic entitled “Let’s not condemn condoms in the fight against AIDS,” in which he states, “I believe our credibility as a church is on the line here… For me, the condom…question is not simply a matter of chastity but of justice.”
“The Vatican and many bishops worldwide have been increasingly hostile to the gay community and its values, claiming that homosexuality is ‘intrinsically disordered,’ working against gay adoption and parenting, and against gay marriage. These attitudes must change in a fundamental way,” stated Frances Kissling, president of CFFC, an advocacy organization of Catholics who disagree with Vatican positions on sexuality and reproduction. “Cardinals and bishops must promote a culture of life in which responsible sexuality and AIDS prevention are linked; not a culture of death which will result in more AIDS-ravaged communities, especially in the developing world. Catholics, gay and straight alike, need to know that using condoms doesn’t make one a bad Catholic. In fact, using condoms to protect themselves and their partners is part of being good Catholics.”
In addition to the advertisements, a first-of-its-kind publication, Sex in the HIV/AIDS Era: A Guide for Catholics, will assist at-risk Catholics who are struggling with question around faith and conscience, sexuality and the use of condoms for HIV/AIDS prevention. A first printing of 10,000 copies of the brochure is being distributed globally and may be ordered on the campaign’s website: www.condoms4life.org.
Click here to read Sex in the HIV/AIDS Era: A Guide for Catholics.