ON THE GOVERNMENT’S REVITALIZED PROMOTION OF CONDOMS
March 2, 2010
The Church, like the Good Shepherd, has always shown love and compassion towards those who suffer any form of affliction. Consistent with the truth and meaning of human sexuality, and God’s plan for the family, the Church reiterates that formation in authentic sexual values, more concretely expressed in premarital chastity and fidelity to spouse, is the only effective way to curb the spread of AIDS.
Given its high failure rate, the condom cannot really put a stop to AIDS. Moreover, by creating a false sense of security, it condones and encourages promiscuity outside of marriage, and hence contributes to the further spread of AIDS. Given their medical, social and moral implications, questions related with condom promotion and failure have to be seriously studied by the public, including:
- The funding and effort involved in promoting condoms should rather be used to fight diseases that afflict millions of people in our country each year, such as diarrhea, bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer, hypertension and influenza. Available resources should instead be channeled to provide basic needs such as food, medicines, education and work. Furthermore, it is unjust that the taxes of the people including Catholics be used for purposes against their moral beliefs.
- The condom business is a multi-million dollar industry that heavily targets the adolescent market, at the expense of morality and family life. Condom advertisements should be banned in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, and public places, as they desensitize the youth’s delicate conscience and weaken their moral fibers as future parents.
- Rich countries with ageing and imminently dwindling populations spend huge amounts to encourage their citizens to have more children. Why should they be allowed to also spend huge amounts to discourage Filipinos capable of having more children from doing so?
- In the same way that the government requires warnings for certain substances (“Cigarette smoking is dangerous for your health” for tobacco, “Drink moderately” for alcoholic beverages, and “No therapeutic claims” for herbal medicines) the Department of Health should also require a Government Warning that states, “CONDOMS MAY FAIL TO PROTECT FROM AIDS AND OTHER SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES.” Consumer groups should insist on the right to know the real characteristics of products they use, and that corresponding labels be conspicuously displayed in packaging.
As explained in the CBCP’s document, In the Compassion of Jesus. A Pastoral Letter on AIDS, dated January 23, 1993, the Church spares no effort to help prevent the spread of AIDS. She serves and ministers to AIDS patients, and helps protect them from stigmatization, ostracism and condemnation. She educates the public on the prevention of the disease.
We urge parents, professional associations, civil society, youth organizations, the government, and the mass media, to be vigilant and take positive steps in guarding the total health and welfare of our people, and to form families in real loving and responsible relationships. This we should all do not only out of a religious concern, but in obedience to the Constitution as well. Parents in particular should stand for their Constitutional right to rear their children according to their values, and not allow any ideological, commercial, political or international strategic interest to stand in their way.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
+NEREO P. ODCHIMAR, DD
Bishop of Tandag