No free condoms from DOH on Valentine’s Day; CBCP pleased
MANILA, Philippines—Here’s something that some Catholic bishops will be happy about with respect to the Department of Health (DOH) on Valentine’s Day.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona on Monday said the DOH will not be distributing free condoms on Tuesday couples nationwide mark Valentine’s Day with dinner dates, lavish gifts and other gestures of affection.
Ona also reminded lovers to practice responsible sex and to not engage in intimate activities if not married. “My advice for this day is that if you are not married, don’t engage in sex,” said Ona in an interview with reporters on Monday on the sidelines of a World Health Organization meeting in Manila.
“Responsible sex means you engage in sexual practices that are acceptable to you and your religious beliefs,” he added. But still the use of condoms and other artificial contraceptives, which the Catholic Church rejects, was still upon the discretion among couples, said Ona.
“If they want to use it, then they should buy it themselves,” he added.
The DOH in the past distributed condoms on Feb. 14 as part of its campaign aimed at curbing the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the country. But the health agency suspended its distribution of the device on Valentine’s s Day since last year.
Ona said couples have two options in order to avoid infection: total inhibition or the usage of condoms.
Last week, some Catholic bishops appealed to the DOH not to hand out free condoms to adults on such a special occasion. They said that the solution to the prevailing HIV/AIDS problem in the country was “fidelity to one’s spouse, obedience to God’s will and abstinence.”
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle also reminded Filipino couples celebrating Valentine’s Day that “love is divine … to banalize love is not just contrary to human soul and nobility but against the nature of God.”
“I hope Valentine’s Day will be an explosion of holiness rather than of banalities that really distort the very figure of God,” said Tagle.
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