Condoms are manufactured with a very important purpose. They were designed to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases as well as in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Unfortunately, religious leaders don’t see eye to eye with condom manufacturers. And so we have this conflict between condoms and religion going on even until this very day.
Since condoms became popular as a protection against unexpected pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, the church has been vocal of its opposition against the use of such product. The Catholic Church, in particular, has always hogged the headlines because of its objection to the use of condoms as a birth control method. The Roman Catholic Church never allows condom use in its family planning education campaign but focuses on sexual abstinence and faithfulness between a married couple to prevent the spread of HIV that causes AIDS.
The late Pope John Paul II, for instance, was a very strong advocate of the natural family planning process and condemned the use of condoms. This year, Pope Benedict VI and the Vatican gathered more negative feedback from various sectors of society after the Pope, during his first trip to Africa in March, announced that condoms are not the solution to the AIDS crisis in Africa and are even partly to blame for the spread of AIDS in the continent. Australia’s Anglican Dean of Sydney Phillip Jensen, however, strongly supports the views of Pope Benedict XVI saying that the promotion of condom use in Africa has only led to increasing promiscuity. The bishop of the French city of Orleans also agreed with the Pope saying that the condom is not a total guarantee against the spread of AIDS.
Unfortunately, there are far more groups that did not like the Pope’s comments. The governments of Germany, Belgium and France as well as aid organizations were angered by the pontiff’s remarks. The Lancet, an internationally known medical research journal, even clamored for a retraction or correction of his statement because coming from a major religious figure worldwide, they believe the irresponsible comment could cause an adverse effect on the health of people. Currently, approximately 22 million people are infected with HIV in Africa, based on the 2007 figures of the United Nations.
So far, among the major religious congregations in the world, most are open to condom use. And although the Roman Catholic has long banned the use of this protective product, there are Catholics who do prefer the condom for health protection and to prevent conception. Personal preference for these people is seen as more important than adhering to their religious beliefs.