News and Observer (Raleigh NC) (01.23.10) - Thursday, January
A small group of Roman Catholics is calling for a boycott of
the Raleigh diocese's annual fundraiser, hoping to press local
leaders to abandon the church's opposition to condoms. The
repudiation of condoms is unethical and could hinder public
health efforts to fight AIDS, say the half-dozen members of
the Catholic Coalition for AIDS Prevention (CCAP).
"There's a low probability of success, but it's better to try
and fail than not to try at all," said Thomas Zimmerman, who
leads the group and previously worked with pharmaceutical
firms on AIDS drugs. Some CCAP members have assisted their
local church's AIDS care teams but say helping those who have
the disease is not enough. The church should also promote
education and prevention so fewer people get HIV, they say.
"We work in public health and are striving to be faithful
Catholics," said Theresa Hoke, a researcher at Family Health
International and a Durham congregant. "It doesn't feel right
to not do anything."
"We want to educate other Catholics about the reasons why this
policy is bad and encourage them to express their disapproval
financially," Zimmerman said. "If we can make an impact on
this local diocese, it might make an impact elsewhere."
"The consequences that result from boycotting a campaign
designed to bring the compassion of Jesus Christ to those in
need appears a contradictory way to address the issue," said
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. The Bishop's Annual Appeal raises
funds for charity efforts covering 54 counties in eastern
In a meeting with Burbidge last month, CCAP was told Catholic
teachings are divine truth and immutable. The meeting was
polite, but no viewpoints were changed, CCAP members said.