Catholics for Choice is a lobby group that believes in expressing Catholicism as it is lived by ordinary people.
The group openly disagrees with the stand of the Vatican on matters related to marriage, sex, motherhood, and family life. Members believe that everyone deserves the right to make a choice. It is based in the US and it is headed by John O’ Brien, as the president.
In 2001, it launched the worldwide Condoms for Life campaign to raise awareness about the harmful effects of the stand of the Catholic Church on condom use.
Mr O’ Brien looks at the Catholic hierarchy in Kenya and in other parts of the world as threatening to public health in a doctrinal tug-of-war over an issue that has been settled for years. He sees HIV and Aids as a scientific issue and even enthuses that using a condom to prevent HIV transmission is a pro-life decision, contrary to what the church says.
“The aim of the campaign is to ensure that Catholics know that despite what the bishops say, they can, in good conscience, use condoms. Catholics in Kenya are no different. They can take the steps to protect themselves and their partners against HIV,” he said in April at the launch of the Condoms for Life campaign in Kenya.
Backed by a host of other institutions, this group has been on a mission to put up billboards that have earned them the rebuke of Catholic leaders in the country. But people like Job Akuno of the National Organisation of Peer Educators in Kenya applauded the advertisements. “The Condoms for Life campaign targets a critical mass and is a call to action to its leadership. It’s a strong, healthy, faith-based message by Catholics and for Catholics,” he said.
Catholic leaders have questioned whether Catholics for Choice are really Catholics or an ill-intentioned group that wants to sow seeds of immorality among its faithful.