Starting tomorrow, young people will flock to Madrid for World Youth Day, where they'll see concerts, speeches by bishops, and appearances by the Pope. But they won't be seeing ads supporting condom use — because Spanish transit authorities banned them.
Catholics for Choice, which describes itself as "a voice for Catholics who believe that the Catholic tradition supports a woman's moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health," had run the above Condoms4Life ad in a variety of countries. But their bid to run it on Madrid's transit system during World Youth Day was rejected, either by city authorities or by the local billboard company. Says Catholics for Choice president Jon O'Brien,
It's absolutely ludicrous to claim that these ads are offensive. As a result of this arbitrary decision, the young people coming to World Youth Day will not get the opportunity to make up their own minds about whether these ads are appropriate and present an important message. We certainly think they do. This is an international meeting where hundreds of thousands of young people can get the message that using condoms can save lives.
O'Brien also points out that the ads reference Pope Benedict's comments supporting condom use — he asks, "How can it be offensive for Catholics to support the position of the pope?" Turns out, however, not everybody agrees on the Pope's position. Patrick Craine of LifeSiteNews framed the ads' rejection thus:
The efforts of the U.S.-based pro-abortion group ‘Catholics for Choice' to subvert Catholic sexual teaching at next month's World Youth Day in Madrid experienced a major setback this week when their ads were rejected by a local advertising company.
He also asserted that "in December, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reiterated that the pope did not approve the use of condoms for any reason." Craine linked to the statement issued by the Congregation, which doesn't actually clear things up that much. It includes a denunciation of the use of condoms as contraception (no surprise), and a long, involved paragraph about their use by prostitutes to prevent HIV, which pretty much takes the same position the Pope did — prostitution is bad, and condoms are bad, but if a prostitute has a choice between using a condom and transmitting HIV, he or she should probably pick the rubber. Whether this constitutes the Pope's "approval" is an issue of semantics. What it does indicate is the Pope recognizes that "condoms save lives," which is all the ad was claiming. It's a shame that the attendees at World Youth Day won't get to hear it.
Condoms4Life Advertisements Banned In Madrid [Condoms4Life]