Bishop Kevin Dowling
No doubt you've been reading about the Pope's visit to Africa and also his statement made on the plane beforehand asserting that the use of condoms doesn't stop the spread of AIDs but actually makes it worse. I thought I'd post something about Kevin Patrick Dowling, C.SS.R., a South African prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, a Redemptorist, and the second and current Bishop of Rustenburg. Why? Because he disagrees with the Pope on this - South African Bishop Opposes Vatican's Ban on Condoms - NPR.
The NPR story is current, but I thought I'd post this short 2005 story from TIME about him below ......
European Heroes 2005 - Bishop Kevin Dowling: Lives in the balance
breaking with catholic doctrine, bishop kevin dowling advocates the use of condoms to help save lives
In 1998, when Bishop Kevin Dowling first got involved in setting up a health clinic in Freedom Park, one of the massive shack settlements in his diocese of Rustenburg, South Africa, the suffering shocked him. He watched countless young women—many of them driven to prostitution by poverty—die of aids. He knew that condoms could have prevented most of these deaths.
The dilemma has placed him at odds with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception. Four years ago, he became the first African bishop to call on the church to consider lifting its absolute ban on condom use. They should be accepted as a tool for protecting millions of vulnerable lives against aids, he argued, rather than denounced as a form of birth control. “The challenge to the church is a challenge to all of society,” says the 61-year-old bishop. “We have to find the best means to protect life, and the best means to prevent the transmission of this virus.”
Over the past seven years, Dowling has developed his initial makeshift clinic into a program that provides comprehensive treatment and counseling to hundreds of people a year. “He is the aids bishop,” says Father James Keenan, a professor of theological ethics at Boston College, Massachusetts. “The issue of the Catholic Church and condoms has to be resolved by listening to men of the church who have the experience, tenacity and wisdom of Bishop Dowling.”
Dowling’s argument hinges on the church’s teaching on the sacredness of life: without condoms, people will continue to die unnecessarily, he argues. “There are hundreds of thousands of women in sub-Saharan Africa facing the same situation,” he says. “They look into my eyes and tell me there is no hope.” Dowling reasons that the church has always allowed exceptions to its 1968 Papal ban on contraception; when, for example, a woman’s health is at risk. Likewise, he argues, in poor communities where aids is rife, the church must allow condoms for the same purpose. Bishops and Cardinals are beginning to agree with him, although when addressing African church leaders in June, Pope Benedict reiterated the church’s opposition to condoms. But to Dowling, the church’s credibility is at stake. With thousands of poor men and women dying, he says, the church needs to send the message that “we are authentically pro-life, in the widest sense of that word.” —By Megan Lindow