, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – The debate surrounding a new condom advert that was pulled off the airwaves after drawing sharp criticism from religious groups is still eliciting disapproval, with the Catholic Church saying it would never support it.
Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) Chairman John Njue reminded Kenyans that the Catholic Church has always been against contraceptives.
Njue, who was accompanied by KEC Vice Chairman Philip Anyolo, however said that the church would issue a comprehensive statement on the matter in due course.
“You already know the stand of the Catholic Church. We are not in favour of contraceptives,” said Anyolo.
Interestingly, reports on newly elected Pope Francis claim that he is a bit liberal on the use of contraceptives as long as they are used to control the spread of diseases.
“But we want to assure you that we are on the way; we are going to address the matter systematically,” added Njue.
The advert, which encourages married women to use condoms when engaging in extramarital affairs, caused a huge outcry from several religious organisations that deemed it as promoting immorality.
But in an interview with the BBC, Deputy Director Kenya National AIDS and STI Control Programme Peter Cherutich said he did not regret the message in the advert.
He instead accused Kenyans of “burying their heads in the sand” noting that between 20 and 30 percent of married couples had other sexual partners and did not use condoms.
“We know for a fact that a big proportion of both men and women have sex outside their regular partnerships and so unfaithfulness as you would call it is a reality that we have to face in this country,” he explained.
Njue at the same time asked Catholics to support the new Pope saying he would serve the church with zeal.
He said Pope Francis was a simple and humble man who had his heart set on the poor.
Njue further urged Catholic faithful not to get so engrossed in getting an African Pope arguing that it did not matter as long as the man chosen was a great leader.
“That has to be left to the Holy Spirit; it is not rotational. The guidance was given to the Bishops who were in the conclave and he is what we came up with. I think we have a competent person,” he said.