Condoms on the Bishops’ Doorstep: Phillippines

In their steadfast defence of Humanae Vitae, the Bishops of the world continue to ignore the plain evidence that the policy contradicts the recommendations of the papacy’s own commission, and is patently ignored by all but a tiny minority of the world’s married couples. Now, to make the point in a manner that the bishops would probably love to ignore but cannot, women in the Philippines have found a dramatic gesture to illustrate their views. They delivered condoms to the bishops’ door – and in traditional Catholic fashion, asked for them to be blessed!

They came bearing condoms

Members of a workers group Monday brought the condom debate to the doorstep of Catholic bishops, in a bid to convince the prelates that prophylactics protect the health of women.

Carrying baskets with inflated condoms and flowers, members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM, Party of Workers) gathered Monday at the gates of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in Intramuros, Manila, to ask the bishops to bless the rubbers.

But not one of the Catholic bishops was available to meet with PM members. Instead, the group submitted a copy of a position paper supporting the government’s distribution of condoms to curb the spread of HIV-AIDS.

The CBCP continues to object to the program because it believes it encourages promiscuity and weakens the moral fiber of the youth.

PM secretary-general Judy Ann Miranda said the mass action was timed to coincide with Women’s Day observed worldwide Monday.

“We humbly asked the bishops to bless the condoms as a conciliatory gesture [for everyone] to unite for reproductive health and women’s rights,” Miranda said in a statement.

The group supported the distribution of condoms because it would allow women to space their children and safeguard their health.

Right to health

In its position paper, PM said women, especially the poor, have an unmet need for effective contraception, which remains unfulfilled because of Church opposition.

“Reproductive health is a woman’s [right] yet her choice has always been challenged by institutions based on moral standards,” the PM said.

“Contrary to the Catholic Church’s pronouncements that this is a moral issue, the distribution of condoms to address the spread of HIV-AIDS is a reproductive health concern that should be addressed through widespread education and the provision of appropriate social services,” it added.

(Full report: Inquirer.net)

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