Monday, November 1, 2010

Swiss Catholics split over condoms

Catholics in Lucerne started handing out condoms as part of an AIDS awareness campaign, provoking mixed reactions from other catholics. According to the New Zealand Herald, the campaign is focused on raising awareness:

"We needed something to appeal to people who wouldn't dream of talking to the church about that kind of issue," said spokesman Florian Flohr.
The campaign is targeted at those as young as 14 and includes talks in schools about the devastating effect Aids is having in Africa.
"It's not about promoting promiscuous activity. We're using the condoms to prompt people to think about HIV and Aids."
As one might expect, other catholics see it differently:
Officials in the diocese of Basel, of which Lucerne is a part, didn't respond to requests for comment, but a spokesman in the neighbouring Church was quoted by Swiss TV as describing the condom campaign as a mistake.
"It sends the wrong signal," Christoph Casetti told SF1. "From a medical point of view, I also think it's wrong because we know condoms don't provide certain protection."
Vatican officials also repeated the same tired answers.

While the catholics giving out condoms still saw them as linked to promiscuity instead of mature and safe sexual activity, they have at least raised their standard of care for others to the point where causing unnecessary risk through non-use of condoms is unacceptable. It is progress, and if it provokes a debate in the church, that will also prompt more people to question and reconsider dogma.

And help save lives.

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