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Recent battles in the "condom wars"

Events from the year 2009 to now

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Some randomly selected events - year 2009 to now:

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2010-JUN: "Condoms and peace in the Philippines:

Daryl M. Dano, a MA candidate in international peace studies from the University for Peace in Costa Rico, wrote a report on "... tensions between religious and secular approaches to population growth, sexual health care, and women's rights in the Philippines, focusing particularly on the promotion of condom use as a peace initiative in the country." While working with an NGO in Uganda, he had gathered experience with the ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, Condom use) method for the prevention of HIV/AIDS transmission.

He explains that the Phillipine population had grown significantly from the time of World War II due to better health care, the increase of over a decade in life expectancy, and a 50% reduction in the infant mortality rate. The country's current population is about 90 million and is increasing about 2% a year. Unless an effective family planning program is introduced, the population is expected to exceed 140 million by 2040.

Senator Edgardo Angara -- a former Agriculture secretary -- had noted that the country can only accommodate 15 million people with a decent standard of life. He said: "... beyond 115 million, we might not be able to carry on the business of the government as well as the business of living." His obvious message is that population growth has to be reversed or the results will be societal breakdown and violence.

Dano describes how the Phillipine government started a family planning (FP) program in the 1970s in spite of strong objections by the Roman Catholic Church. However, in 2010, some forty years later, the program remains inadequate to the task. Most Filipinos still have no access to FP.

He notes how the country's 1987 constitution calls for a separation of church and state. Yet, the Catholic Church organized two successful popular uprisings that resulted in government regime changes during the late 20th century. More recently, the church heavily opposed a government comprehensive reproductive health bill (RH). Polls indicate that 63% of the adult population favors the bill and 8% oppose it. Those who favor the bill cite poverty caused by unplanned pregnancies and the resultant overpopulation in the country as reasons for their support. Yet, in 2003, the government recognized the church-approved natural family planning method (NFP) as the only "acceptable method of birth control." The president has refused to finance FP and RH programs. The Church allegedly argues that condoms and other method of family planning promote moral decay and the "... proliferation of contraceptives’ [is responsible] for promiscuity, abortions and illegitimate births."

Dano concludes:

"The ABC approach on reproductive health issues, especially "C" technique, does not equate ...[to] promoting immoral acts. An honest discussion will open the minds of the public on the real issues on overpopulation and its consequences. In my opinion, after a number of surveys and studies done over the years, the mere fact that the Filipinos, especially women, want other options apart from NFP, is a big indicator that they are ready and willing for the new FP and RH culture and rights. Educating the public about the ABC (especially on condom use) allows them to be empowered and protected not only from unintended pregnancies but against sexually transmitted diseases too." 1

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2010-NOV: Pope Benedict XVI permits the use of condoms in a narrow range of applications:

On 2010-NOV-24, the Ignatius Press published a book "Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times," It consists of a series of extensive interviews of Pope Benedict XVI during mid-2010 by a German journalist, Peter Seewald.

The book contains (in its section describing the pope's travels) a short statement on the use of condoms for the prevention of HIV transmittal. The media went into a feeding frenzy. As during wartime, accuracy was the first fatality. 3

  • One newspaper published an analysis of the book on 2010-NOV-22 that had as its headline "Benedict's view... is that condoms can be used in a very restricted instances." Tom Heneghan of Reuters wrote on NOV-21 : that condom use "... may be justified in some cases, such as that of an infected male prostitute protecting his sex partner." The implication is that condoms cannot be generally used.

  • The official Vatican newspaper, :'L'Osservatore Romano, apparently mistranslated a single word in the book that refers to only male prostitutes into an Italian word that refers to both male and female prostitutes.

  • The same newspaper revisited the book on NOV-24, pubishing a second article with the subtitle: "Pope says everyone is allowed to prevent transmission of HIV." Nichole Winfield of the Associated Press on NOV-23 wrote: "... the Vatican expanded the comments to include women." 4

Confusions reigns. The only people to benefit from the chaos is probably Ignatius Press, whose book sales should skyrocket. One day after the book was published, Amazon.com was quoting 5 week delivery for a hardcover copy, or something less than 60 seconds for a Kindle ebook delivery.

We are currently writing an essay devoted to this development.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today due to ISA: the Internet's Selective Amnesia.

  1. Daryl Dano, "Condoms and Peace in the Philippines," University for Peace, 2010-JUN-01, at: http://www.monitor.upeace.org/
  2. book cover image Peter Seewald & Pope Benedict XVI, "Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times," Ignatius Press, 2010-NOV-24. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store List price: $21.95. Amazon price: $13.17. Available on Amazon Kindle for $9.99.
  3. Tom Heneghan, "Pope says what everyone's thinking..." Reuters News Agency, 2010-NOV-21. Published by the Toronto Star on 2010-NOV-22, Page A10.
  4. Nichole Winfield, "Condom 'game-changer' announced," Associated Press, 2010-NOV-23. Published by the Toronto Star on 2010-NOV-24, Page A20.

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-NOV-22
Latest update: 2010-NOV-25

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