NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – The Catholic Church is embroiled in yet another controversy after a group calling itself Catholics for Choice (CFC) put up billboards advocating for the use of condoms amongst faithful.
Led by Cardinal John Njue, the Church says the propagators of the advert do not reflect its pro-life principles and wants the offensive advertisement pulled down by the end of Tuesday.
Njue noted that one of those adverts had actually been placed on a billboard about a kilometre away from the Consolata Shrine in Westlands.
He argued that the adverts invoked the Catholic name making it appear as if it got the green light from the Church.
“Who are they (Catholics for Choice)? Somebody somewhere somehow must be operating it and whether he is from here or not doesn’t really matter,” he said dismissively.
“The only thing we are saying is that this is a seed that is being planted for very wrong reasons,” he argued.
Kisumu Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth added that the pro-life stand held by the Church had not changed and they would not take the matter lying down.
Okoth maintained that it was only abstinence and faithfulness that could stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The advert states: “We believe in God, we believe that sex is sacred, we believe in caring for each other, we believe in using condoms and good Catholics use condoms.”
“Condoms came in to control births even before HIV/AIDS came on and we already rejected that. Condoms are not the answer for that. We are pro-life. Even if you get 10 children give us two to become priests,” Okoth quipped.
Eldoret Archbishop Cornelius Korir also affirmed the Church’s position accusing the ad’s sponsors of encouraging immorality.
“Prevention is the best way and so far they (CFC) have not told us the source of this HIV/AIDS. Why are they pouring money as if they know the source?” he asked.
An article posted on the CFC website however said that the advert had been sanctioned by the Church to prevent the spread of HIV.
“The campaign is vital because the bishops’ recent activities are not representative of Catholic teachings or beliefs. Catholics do support the use of condoms, and they do use them to protect themselves and their partners,” CFC president and campaign coordinator Jon O’Brien is quoted as saying.
This comes about two months after another advert, which encourages married women to use condoms when engaging in extramarital affairs, was pulled off the airwaves.
The prime time advert caused a huge outcry from several religious organisations that deemed it immoral.
In the advert, a married woman appeared to be having an extra marital relationship with a man who also seemed to be engaging in a similar relationship with another woman.
The woman is then asked to ensure that she uses a condom in her relations to ensure that she does not contract the dreaded virus.