Roman Catholic Bishops of England & Wales
Our bodies are not our own
CAFOD is the public face of the Catholic Church of England and Wales around the world. It is therefore essential that CAFOD is outspoken in support of marriage and family life on its web site, in its communications with its partner organisations, in its development activities and in its lobbying of governments. However, on the issue of HIV and condoms, instead of vigorously supporting the Church's opposition to the use of condoms, CAFOD, in the year 2000, called for a 're-think'(13), the suggestion being that condoms should be used to help prevent HIV.
CAFOD's web site states:
'CAFOD therefore recognises that promotion of harm minimisation is often a necessary and crucial short-term strategy. Consequently, CAFOD asks all partners working in the area of HIV prevention to give individuals full information about all means of HIV prevention and that this advice is scientifically correct. A person must be able to make decisions about preventing HIV transmission that are consistent with their religious convictions and based on their knowledge and understanding of the risks of their individual situation. CAFOD does not support programmes that give false or misleading information about prevention (for example that HIV will inevitably pass through holes in latex; or that condoms contain HIV; or on the other hand, that the use of condoms guarantees 100 percent 'safe' sex). This distorts truth, damages credibility, can alienate rather than engage individuals and others involved in mitigating the spread of HIV. &nbsIt also inhibits the development of effective partnerships.'(14)
CAFOD appears to be trying to provide a balanced argument on condom use and states that it is false and misleading that condoms contain HIV. However, the fact is that if an HIV positive man uses a condom during sexual intercourse, the condom will contain HIV. Also, no one is suggesting that HIV will inevitably pass through holes in latex. Dr Roland of the US Naval Research Laboratory, Washington shows that naturally occurring voids in latex do exist and at 50 - 500 times the size of the HIV virus and that the HIV virus can pass through the voids in latex at a rate of 33,000 viruses per minute.(15)
CAFOD claim they do not want to 'distort the truth' on condoms. The truth is that condoms are intrinsically evil.(16) If this is not taught by CAFOD and others involved in health-care and disease prevention, who's distorting the truth?
CAFOD also places its relationship with its partner organisations over and above vigorously supporting the Church's teaching on condoms and over and above its duty to support marriage and family life and, according to a report in the UK medical journal the Lancet,(17) even over and above the health of its clients, for, there is now evidence to show that condom promotion increases risk-taking by those who use condoms.
Included in the appendix to this publication is a copy the Guild of Catholic Doctors critique of CAFOD's condom policy and another commentary on CAFOD and others by organisations such as natural family planning groups (NFP) entitled: 'Condomolatry'. We would like to know how the Bishops and CAFOD's governing body have responded to both these articles which have been published for over a year.
CAFOD, being involved in family life issues and HIV prevention, has a great opportunity to pass on the truth of Humanae Vitae to its partner organisations. &nbsOrganisations such as Christian Aid, World Vision, and others strongly support the use of condoms as you will see from this publication and from our Campaigns page on the United for Life web site.
If money and resources from CAFOD are going to projects run by these organisations this should raise serious concerns since we all accept that contraception diminished marriage and family life. As Pope John Paul says in his message for World Communications Day 2004,(1)
"Public authorities themselves have a serious duty to uphold marriage and the family for the sake of society itself. Instead, many now accept and act upon the unsound libertarian arguments of groups which advocate practices which contribute to the grave phenomenon of family crisis and the weakening of the very concept of the family."
If public authorities have a duty to uphold marriage and family life then how much more of a duty do Catholic and other Christian organisations have?