The Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) has long been suspected of being involved in the distribution and promotion of condoms. In this comprehensive report, the Lepanto Institute confirms these suspicions by reviewing the philosophy of its leadership, its own documents, and government reports. What is clear is that CMMB is not only philosophically in favor of the promotion of condoms, but is actively involved in the distribution of them as well.
The former president of the Catholic Medical Mission Board is John Galbraith. Galbraith became the president and CEO of CMMB in the year 2000, and served in that capacity until 2012. In 2006, while Galbraith was serving as the CEO and President of CMMB, Galbraith gave an interview to the Georgetown Voice wherein he clearly stated that CMMB’s work includes the promotion of condoms. From the interview:
GV: Georgetown's director for Reproductive Health, Victoria Jennings, said that members of the Catholic Church "'preach' about pre-marital abstinence and marital fidelity" and deems this the "social control" approach. How is the CMMB included in this dialogue?
JG: With the help of our partners, we run hospitals and clinics. We don't give sermons in parishes. Sometimes we work in the community, for prevention messages. Certainly when we do that, the message is, the only 100 percent proven way to prevent getting HIV/AIDS is to avoid sexual contact except in marriage with a single partner. Having said that, when a person comes in and is sick, we’re not preaching to that person. The way you fight HIV/AIDS is ABC: abstinence, be faithful, and if that doesn't work, use condoms.
Bruce Wilkinson was hired as the current president and CEO of CMMB in 2012. From 2005-2009, Wilkinson was the Chief of Party for a World Vision/USAID program called RAPIDS. During that time, Wilkinson gave an interview The Other Journal wherein he claimed that women in African need to use condoms. From the interview:
TOJ: When you talked about simplistic messages, are some of those around the condom issues…
BW: Yeah it is, there is too much insistence on talking about condoms, and it is such a social hot point here in North America. Let me tell you what, there are women in Africa who need to be protected by a condom in Africa because they don't know where their husband has been. And are you going to tell me that condoms are not to be used? That's absolutely nonsense!
If people are HIV positive themselves, you can retransmit the disease quite easily; they need to be protected during sex. There are so many ways that condoms can be appropriately used not violating the premises of scripture. And then to make general statements about the effectiveness of condoms, it just isn't helpful. Not to say that there isn't some substance in their message, but why are they using this issue as a keystone? It's not the big issue.
The big issue is what do people believe and think about HIV/AIDS and taking their own individual responsibility for stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. That is where the Christian message actually resonates. Condoms is a sidebar, yeah there is some validity to some of the messaging being put out there, because condoms are 100 percent safe, that's for sure and condoms in every context could encourage earlier sexual activity, but the key here is that condoms are minor issue of what the overall Christian message should be. And Christians keep majoring on the minor.
Distribution of Condoms
According to CMMB's FAQ page on its old website, CMMB claims not to distribute condoms, but provides "partners complete and accurate information about condoms as part of [its] prevention efforts."
Despite what it claims in the FAQ, at least one former employee claims the contrary. An online corporate review organization called GlassDoor has an anonymous review from 2015 by former employee of CMMB. The reviewer proclaims, "So glad they distribute condoms!" The reviewer also claims CMMB is considering the distribution of injectable contraceptive Norplant and that the president of CMMB even said he thought that CMMB should offer abortions. Interestingly, the reviewer laments that CMMB is not being honest with its donors and board of directors about what they do to "support women's reproductive independence."
While there is nothing in the public record to indicate that the president of CMMB, Bruce Wilkinson, believes that CMMB should offer abortions, there is plenty of evidence that CMMB is actively distributing condoms.
Read the rest at the Lepanto Institute.