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 sufferany form of affliction. Consistent with the truth and meaning of human sexuality, and God’s plan for thefamily, the Church reiterates that formation in authentic sexual values, more concretely expressed inpremarital 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 falsesense of security, it condones and encourages promiscuity outside of marriage, and hence contributes tothe further spread of AIDS. Given their medical, social and moral implications, questions related withcondom promotion and failure have to be seriously studied by the public, including:
1. The funding and effort involved in promoting condoms should rather be used to fightdiseases that afflict millions of people in our country each year, such as diarrhea,bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer, hypertension and influenza. Availableresources 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 includingCatholics be used for purposes against their moral beliefs.
2. The condom business is a multi-million dollar industry that heavily targets the adolescentmarket, at the expense of morality and family life. Condom advertisements should bebanned in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, and public places, as theydesensitize the youth’s delicate conscience and weaken their moral fibers as futureparents.
3. Rich countries with ageing and imminently dwindling populations spend huge amounts toencourage their citizens to have more children. Why should they be allowed to alsospend huge amounts to discourage Filipinos capable of having more children from doingso?
4. In the same way that the government requires warnings for certain substances(“Cigarette smoking is dangerous for your health” for tobacco, “Drink moderately” foralcoholic beverages, and “No therapeutic claims” for herbal medicines) the Department ofHealth should also require a Government Warning that states, “CONDOMS MAY FAILTO PROTECT FROM AIDS AND OTHER SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES.”Consumer groups should insist on the right to know the real characteristics of productsthey 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, datedJanuary 23, 1993, the Church spares no effort to help prevent the spread of AIDS. She serves andministers to AIDS patients, and helps protect them from stigmatization, ostracism and condemnation. Sheeducates the public on the prevention of the disease.
We urge parents, professional associations, civil society, youth organizations, the government, and themass 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 areligious concern, but in obedience to the Constitution as well. Parents in particular should stand for theirConstitutional 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
March 2, 2010