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Catholics Defy Vatican, Hand Out Condoms

Catholics Defy Vatican, Hand Out Condoms


Some Catholic health workers in Africa have been slipping condoms to the public despite ongoing hostility toward contraceptive devices to prevent pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

Only recently has Pope Benedict XVI said that condom use is permissible in some limited cases, mainly to hinder the spread of HIV. However, Catholics like the Reverend Didier Lemaire in Johannesburg, South Africa, have been distributing safe-sex information as well as condoms under the radar. He told the Associated Press that denying people the use of condoms in an age of HIV goes against the commandment "Thou shalt not kill."

According to the report, the Catholic Church is the biggest private provider of HIV/AIDS care in the world, as one in every four people living with HIV/AIDS receives funding from church programs. Many of the AIDS workers dealing with the disease on a daily basis admit they've been handing out condoms as a means to prevent its spread. One worker at Lemaire's parish in Johannesburg said, "The people in the trenches have been allowing people to use condoms for 10 years now." In South Africa about 10% of the population has HIV or AIDS.

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