Thursday, April 09, 2009

No more condoms for CRS programs

Incoming New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is also chairman of Catholic Relief Services, says that a theologian who exposed the fact that CRS programs included the financing of condoms did the organization a favor.

"The genius of Catholic Relief Services is that we work with local professionals there in those countries," Archbishop Dolan told National Catholic Register.

"Sometimes we have to trust non-Catholics, even though they're supervised by committed Catholics. We have to be certain that they understand the Church's teachings on morality."

In October 2007 the agency mailed to its local church partners "A Flip Chart for Client Education," created by the Zambian government, that contained cartoons illustrating how to use a condom and a testimonial from a condom user.

Germain Grisez, professor of Christian ethics at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Md., exposed the scandalous material in an April 2008 article in The Catholic World Report and claimed that Catholic Relief Services tried to cover up its involvement in the flip chart.

"In retrospect, Professor Grisez did us a favor, and we appreciated his criticisms, because as embarrassed as I am to admit it, he was right on target," Archbishop Dolan said.

Sean Callahan, CRS executive vice president for overseas operations, admitted March 31 that his agency did distribute the chart after being denied permission by Zambia to alter it so that it adhered to Church teaching.

"CRS gave input so our faith-based agencies would feel more comfortable with it," Callahan said. "We do not now distribute it to any of our partners."

In its stead, the Catholic agency has produced an educational document, "Protecting Life: Abstinence and Fidelity," Callahan told the Register.

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(Source: CTHUS)

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