- BARCELONA (AP) -- A Spanish Roman Catholic archbishop has condemned anti-AIDS
campaigns promoting condom use as contributing to the spiritual and moral
ruin of the young.
- The archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal
Ricard Maria Carles, railed against the government media campaigns in a
weekly newsletter article sent to parishes in his northeastern Spanish
- The article comes after the church in
Spain elected a particularly conservative leadership at its Bishops Conference
earlier in the week.
- The cardinal said it was "feeble
and deceptive" to promote condom use as a way to engage in safe sex,
and railed against what he called authorities' failure to warn the young
that this method could fail.
- Dr. Francisco Parras, head of the Health
Ministry department dealing with AIDS campaigns, said that while he respected
the church's right to comment, this would not influence government-sponsored
- "If this was a society where people
didn't have sex, then sexual relations would not be a way of transmitting
the HIV virus. But Spain is not like that," Parras said.
- According to official figures, there
are 53,000 AIDS patients in Spain. Most of them contracted the illness
through drug use, with the rate of new cases diagnosed falling sharply
in recent years.
- The vast majority of Spaniards consider
themselves Catholic, although the influence of the church in daily life
has been greatly reduced since the country's transition to democracy in
the wake of the 1975 death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.