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Swiss Catholics Hand Out Condoms in AIDS Campaign

October 28, 2010

Defying Vatican policy, Lucerne's Roman Catholic Church this week undertook an effort to distribute 3,000 condoms as part of an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign. By Wednesday, about 400 condoms had been handed out in front of the main railway station to persons who requested them. The remaining condoms will be offered to parishioners, said Lucerne's Roman Catholic Church spokesperson Florian Flohr. "It doesn't go against the Catholic Church," he said. "In practice, some people live according to the principles of the Church but others, especially men -- those who need many women -- live in another way and need protection." Flohr added that the campaign's aim was not to "make propaganda for the condom." The Vatican opposes contraception, and last year Pope Benedict XVI was criticized for suggesting on an African visit that condoms could be worsening the AIDS epidemic. Though the Swiss Bishops' Conference declined to comment, spokesperson Walter Mueller said, "Catholic doctrine is clear on issues of sexuality. In this stance it's a practical issue, a particular issue to do with AIDS." Lucerne's Catholic churches are overseen by the diocese of Basel; its spokesperson, Giuseppe Garcia, said that faithfulness should be the basis for human sexuality. "But if people don't know how to live like that, then they might as well use a condom."

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