Kenyan Bishops Issue Correction on Condoms

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 7, 2019   

Michael Hichborn: Correction 'directly related to our reporting'

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NAIROBI, Kenya (ChurchMilitant.com) - After a Lepanto Institute report and further inquiry from Church Militant, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has issued a correction to clarify their consistent position against the use of condoms for any reason.

The Lepanto Institute report revealed that the KCCB's Catholic Health Commission of Kenya had published a letter endorsing the use of condoms for preventing the spread of disease, a position that contradicted the KCCB's consistent condemnation of condom use.

The line quoted in the document ... was not meant for authentication by the Church.

Church Militant had asked Jesuit Br. Elias Mokua, the KCCB's national executive secretary for the Commission for Social Communication, about the letter. 

He responded: "Please ignore the message as it is an example of fake news!"

After asking some follow-up questions for clarification, Mokua then sent Church Militant the KCCB's correction (full text below), stating:

The Catholic Bishops in Kenya have never, have not and are not changing their position that abstinence for young people and sex within a marriage are the two ways to ensure minimal STI and HIV infections spread. The Church continues to encourage moral ways of prevention of diseases and condom use is not one of these means.

Church Militant spoke with Michael Hichborn, president of The Lepanto Institute, whose report first exposed the troubling bishops' statement seeming to promote condom use.

Commenting on how he thought this mistake happened, Hichborn said: "It seems very much that Jacinta Mutegi, the executive secretary for the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya (a project of the KCCB) sent the 'wrong letter' out without any approval or oversight."


"The bishops are saying that this letter went out without their approval, which does imply that their signatures were forged," he said. "To be fair, many administrations send out letters with digital copies of their signatures, so this would not be an extraordinary practice."

"What is extraordinary, however, is that this letter was not approved or vetted by them ahead of time," added Hichborn. 

Mutegi, who seems to be responsible for the wrong letter being sent out, is still present in leadership roles in the KCCB.

Hichborn commented:

As far as I know, the bishops have done nothing about Mutegi. Given her presence in leadership roles on two stridently pro-condom organizations, and the fact that a letter on behalf of the bishops that promoted condom use was even drafted, makes her continued employment by the bishops more and more troublesome by the day.

Hichborn said his reporting on the situation likely influenced the Kenyan bishops to issue a correction.

"I think it's safe to say that the only reason these bishops published a clarification on their position regarding condoms and the erroneous nature of the 'wrong letter' is directly related to our reporting on the issue," he said.

The Church continues to encourage moral ways of prevention of diseases and condom use is not one of these means.

The Kenyan bishops' full statement follows:

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KCCB Correction

(KCCB) wishes to address the concern that a document originating from the KCCB's Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, and erroneously signed by the relevant authorities in the commission, suggests the Bishops support use of condoms as one of the ways in the fight against sexually transmitted infections including HIV and HPV infections. 

The line quoted in the document was presented to an audience in the broader context of "modes of prevention that have been adopted" globally. It was not meant for authentication by the Church.

The Catholic Bishops in Kenya have never, have not and are not changing their position that abstinence for young people and sex within a marriage are the two ways to ensure minimal STI and HIV infections spread. The Church continues to encourage moral ways of prevention of diseases and condom use is not one of these means.

The document circulating in the internet was erroneously signed (but was) quickly recalled once the mistake was noticed and a proper one signed and issued to the partner of KCCB. We regret that the version erroneously signed, sent out but immediately recalled is being quoted as an authoritative document of the Bishops.

We remind all Catholics, our partners and whoever is interested in the position of the Church regarding ways of preventing HIV and other infections that we have several documents available in our office countrywide stating the appropriate method of protecting oneself from the HIV and other related virus. 

Praying for you and all people of God.

Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Kimutai Rono

General Secretary

KENYA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

--- Campaign 31544 ---

 

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