Samoan Catholic church gives thumbs down to free condom plan | Pacific Beat

Samoan Catholic church gives thumbs down to free condom plan

Samoan Catholic church gives thumbs down to free condom plan

Updated 25 April 2013, 10:46 AEST

The Roman Catholic Church in Samoa is up in arms about a plan to distribute free condoms across the campus of the country's National University.

Local health authorities have taken the initiative in response to high rates sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies among the young.

But a Catholic Church spokesman says the plans promotes sex and immorality.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Father Ioane Ono, Chancellor of Catholic Church in Samoa

ONO: Well talking from the perspective of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church maintains its stance against any form of contraceptive because it prohibits young people from getting pregnant,  conception. But as far as the Church goes, this is not its teaching because it's a very delicate matter and from the church's standpoint, it doesn't go along with the gospel, because what they're doing now is they say two sides to the coin, it's prevention of sicknesses or STIs they say, but also on the other hand they forget about the moral question, the moral life of young people, the youth who are involved in this. So it's according to church teaching this is not right.
COUTTS: Given that it is a church teaching, is it perhaps time now for the church to modernise because youth are having sex and youth are getting sexually transmitted diseases?
ONO: And there's no guarantee that these things protect our children from passing on diseases, there's no guarantee that these condoms protect the passing on of diseases. And on the other side of the coin, it is promoting promiscuity and promoting fornication. So I'm talking from the church's perspective and also from the moral side of it. 
COUTTS: Yes of course I acknowledge that, but again the point is that the youth are indulging these practices, so isn't it better to be cautious rather than have the teenage pregnancy rates continue to rise?
ONO:  Well I can only argue from the spiritual side, and this is what we're doing here. I'm a priest so what we preach is God's will from the very beginning.
COUTTS: Will you, the church in Samoa, be making a representation to the university, the National University of Samoa, and object their placement?
ONO: Well we would like to do that but we didn't know, they didn't ask the church, the university itself just continued to do its own thing without the church's knowing about it. And we have what we call the National Council of Churches would be a very good venue to continue to put forward our kind of situation.
COUTTS: Now that you do know about it Father, will you be preaching against it from the pulpit on Sunday?
ONO: I would, I would.
COUTTS: What kind of things will you be saying in your sermon?
ONO: Well the kind of thing I just told you a minute ago, the integrity of the person, the human dignity of the person is (word indistinct) and very much respected by God, by the church, and if we try to give out these condoms to our children, we are asking them you go and do it anywhere, anyhow, any place, any time, provided you have the condoms. And this is I think, we are forcing our church and the whole of society, the whole world like a society of Babylonians in the past and Sodom and Gomorrah.

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