Catholic Relief Services Implemented Condom-Promoting Video Series in Kenya, Documents Reveal

by Michael Hichborn  •  •  March 24, 2015   

Government documents cast serious doubt on CRS’s continued denial of implementing condom-promoting programs

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WASHINGTON, DC –Population Research Institute (PRI) and the Lepanto Institute today released documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) revealing that Catholic Relief Services (CRS) submitted reports to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PRPFAR) indicating that it implemented yet another condom-promoting program in Kenya called Shuga. The documents include reports submitted by CRS to the funding organization, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PRPFAR). This new finding casts further doubt on CRS’s repeated assertions that all of its programs conform to Catholic moral teaching.

“The CRS reports on Shuga confirm that the Catholic charity exposed over 3,000 kids to what amounts to a 75 minute condom commercial,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute. “When caught implementing other contraception-promoting programs in Kenya, CRS claimed to have implemented only sanitized versions of the material. But no such sanitization is even possible when it comes to Shuga.”

CRS and the bishops who sit on its board of directors have made it clear in correspondence and public statements that they will not discuss our concerns,” added Hichborn. “Of course, we remain open to meeting whenever it can be arranged.”

Shuga is a three part video series that was produced by MTV, in partnership with PEPFAR and several other organizations. Each episode is about 25 minutes in length, and follows several story lines of young adults engaging in various sexual relationships while spotlighting the risk of contracting HIV. In the series is the heavy promotion of condom use, explicit sex scenes, women in their underwear, and many scenes of sexually lewd discussions and sexually suggestive dancing.

CRS mislabeled this program as ‘abstinence and be faithful’ (AB),” said Hichborn. “But condom promotion is the central theme of the program. There is absolutely no promotion of abstinence, while the concept of ‘being faithful’ was used primarily as a vehicle to promote condom use.”

Last week, CRS attempted to duck charges that it implemented a condom-promoting program called Healthy Choices II by claiming that it removed all of the elements that promote contraception. Despite CRS’s claims, however, interviews and materials obtained by a PRI investigator in Kenya show that Healthy Choices II was implemented as written.

“Given that CRS apparently had no problem showing Shuga to 3,000 kids, there is no reason to think that CRS would have a problem exposing children to the contraception-promoting components in Healthy Choices II, either,” said Hichborn.

To view the report online, go to

The Lepanto Institute, formed in 2014, conducts independent research into Catholic charitable efforts to ensure their compliance with Catholic social and moral doctrine.


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