- The Washington Times - Monday, December 24, 2001

A pro-choice multidenominational group has begun a poster campaign in the District that accuses bishops of letting people die because of the Catholic Church's policy against condoms.
The 9,000-member Catholics for Free Choice, which is not affiliated with the Catholic Church, has spent more than $250,000 on poster ads in Metro subways and bus stops in the District.
One poster reads: "Catholic people care. Do our bishops? Because the bishops ban condoms, innocent people die."
Another says: "Catholic people care. Do our bishops? Banning condoms kills."
Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for Free Choice, which is not recognized by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, said, "We wanted to shame the bishops into some public exposure because of the way in which their policy has not helped the AIDS crisis."
Some local Catholics and the Archdiocese of Washington which has 510,000 members have taken umbrage at the accusation, arguing that the church is one of the largest AIDS-related care providers in the world. Others questioned why Metro officials allowed the ads to run.
"This campaign is defamatory," said the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, a Catholic pro-life and pro-family nonprofit group. "The bishops teach; they do not ban."
Stephanie McLean, a D.C. Catholic, said she finds the ads offensive and has called Metro officials to say so.
"I saw the ads and called to tell them they are false, but they were not very helpful. I was transferred several times and finally just stopped calling."
Metro spokesman Ray Feldmann said the transit agency accepted the ads because they were not deemed to be pornographic or visually offensive to the general public.
"We are not referees of who is telling the truth," Mr. Feldmann said, adding that Metro had received 24 complaints about the ads.
The Catholic Church opposes artificial means of birth control, including condoms, and says the best prevention of AIDS is abstinence.
Michael Scott, HIV/AIDS pastoral minister for the Archdiocese of Washington, said the ads made him sad. "It conditions people with misinformation that hurts," he said.

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