A parish in the Swiss city of Lucerne recently launched a controversial campaign to distribute condoms to young people. While local Church leaders have not officially responded, the neighboring Diocese of Chur has criticized the idea, calling it gravely irresponsible.
St. John parish in Lucerne—where the campaign has been launched—has already distributed more than 3,000 condoms in order to promote AIDS awareness. The condoms are being handed out to young people at the local train station.
Father Christoph Casetti, spokesman for the Diocese of Chur, said the campaign is irresponsible because it “sends the wrong message” about AIDS prevention. “From a medical point of view it is wrong because we now know that condoms do not offer adequate protection,” he stated.
The Diocese of Basel, in which the parish is located, said it would investigate. It has not yet issued any official statements.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke against the use of condoms in the prevention of AIDS last year. On a flight to Africa for his March 2009 papal visit, the Pontiff noted that “the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem.”
He further explained that the the best response to AIDS is to promote a spiritual and human renewal of people’s understanding of sexuality and to be willing to live true sacrificial friendships with those who suffer from the disease.