"Not True That the Church's Doctrine on Condoms Has Changed"

Says Note From the Spanish Bishops’ Conference

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MADRID, Spain, JAN. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the «Press Note on AIDS and Condoms,» published by the Information Office of the Spanish episcopal conference.

The note clarifies certain newspaper interpretations of statements made Tuesday by Father Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, secretary-general of the Spanish episcopal conference.

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The secretary-general of the episcopal Conference, Father Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, yesterday visited the Minister of Health, Mrs. Elena Salgado, to converse on the way to collaborate in the best possible way in the prevention of the AIDS pandemic. It is a matter that greatly concerns the Church, Catholics and the ecclesial institutions that work, in an outstanding way, in Spain and worldwide, in the social and health care of those affected by this sickness.

The secretary-general commented with the minister about the program of prevention known as ABC and proposed by prestigious scientists and specialists of international rank (see The Lancet medical journal of November 2004). The advice of the specialists is that, to be complete and effective, the policies of prevention of the transmission of AIDS through sex, must be based on the recommendation — in this order — of abstinence, faithfulness and the use of condoms. The World Health Organization states the same.

It was explained to the minister, therefore, that the affirmations are not true which state that the Church, when promoting the correct use of human sexuality, guided by the virtue of chastity, is opposed to the scientific recommendations when it comes to preventing the infection of AIDS. On the contrary, abstinence from improper sexual relations and mutual fidelity between the spouses, are the only generalized sure conduct in the face of the danger of AIDS. The recommendations of public health experts coincide in this with the moral doctrine of the Church.

The secretary-general answered journalists briefly, who were waiting for him when he left the Ministry of Health, that the use of condoms has a place in the program called ABC, an integral technical plan for the prevention of AIDS. This declaration must be understood in the sense of the Catholic doctrine that maintains that the use of condoms implies immoral sexual conduct. Because of this, the Church collaborates effectively and rationally in the prevention of AIDS by promoting the education of persons in faithful conjugal love open to life, trying to avoid in this way improper and promiscuous relations, which give way to so-called health risk situations. In accordance with these principles, it is not possible to counsel the use of condoms, as it is contrary to the person’s morality. The only truly advisable thing is the responsible exercise of sexuality, in accordance with the moral norm.

In conclusion, as opposed to what was affirmed in several instances, it is not true that the doctrine of the Church on condoms has changed.

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