Brazil Campaign Making Things Worse, Bishops Say

Government Program Promoting Condoms as Carnival Nears

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BRASILIA, Brazil, FEB. 16, 2001 ( The Catholic Church in Brazil has labeled the government´s advertising campaign on the eve of carnival as «anti-Christian.»

The television ad for the campaign, which Brazilians have been viewing since Feb. 14, shows a man moments before an encounter with a young woman. He hears the voice of conscience, represented by an angel and a devil, who remind him he does not have a condom and, therefore, should not have sexual relations.

The campaign was launched on the eve of carnival, a time when, according to official statistics, there is an increase in HIV infection.

Bishop Raymundo Damasceno, secretary-general of the bishops´ conference, accused the government of promoting the use of condoms as a «pretext to spread a message that is contrary to Christian values.»

He also criticized the use of the figures of an angel and devil, who are in agreement with the ad´s message. «We cannot confuse good and evil,» the bishop stressed. «Good is good, and evil is evil. We must choose the good.»

Brazilian Health Minister José Serra did not comment on the bishop´s statement, but limited himself to praising the tone of the campaign, entitled «Above Good and Evil.» The $2.7 million campaign includes billboards promoting sex with condoms.

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