JACINTA Mutegi, Executive Secretary of the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, has been accused of departing from Catholic teaching about the use of condoms in a LifeSiteNews report.
Mutegi came to LSN‘s attention because she was signatory to an “erroneous” letter written earlier in July this year by the Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) that endorsed the controversial Gardasil vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV), as well as the use of condoms during pregnancy “every time during sexual intercourse.”
It noted that because HPV is spread through skin contact, condoms “may not always prevent” its spread but supposedly reduce the risk of infection.
When it became clear that the letter went against Catholic teaching on condom use, the KCCB issued a retraction. In a statement titled “Disclaimer: erroneously signed document on HPV prevention not official KCCB position,” the bishops disavowed any suggestions that they:
Support use of condoms as one of the ways in the fight against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and HPV infections.
The retraction went on to say that the July 5 document had been:
Erroneously signed [but was] quickly recalled once the mistake was noticed and a proper one signed and issued to the partners of KCCB.
The bishops stated that they regret that the “version” of the original letter is being quoted as an “authoritative document of the Bishops.”
LSN points out that Mutegi remains as CHCK Executive Secretar:
Despite her apparent departure from Catholic teaching. Having served on the CHCK board since 2012, Mutegi remains involved in several other organizations that spread the use of condoms. Her LinkedIn profile shows that she is a member of the Board of Directors of Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council (NACC) and a member of the Global Fund’s Kenya Coordinating Mechanism (KCM).
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria receives billions of dollars from the government of the United States and other countries, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sources.
The July 5 letter from the Kenyan bishops was at odds with their previous statements about condoms. In 2018, for instance, the bishops strongly condemned condom use. On behalf of the KCCB, Bishop Joseph Obanyi, above, whose name appears on the July 5 letter, said at a conference in Mombasa:
The use of condoms is immoral and is not one of the ways we would embrace in our campaigns.
Bishop Obanyi said that while the church is the “greatest advocator” in the fight against AIDS:
The use of condoms is not part of the agenda of the Church … Condom [use] is not part of moral teaching and therefore, the Church can never advocate for things that are not moral.
The KCCB explained how the letter had been “erroneously” signed:
(KCCB) wishes to address the concern that a document originating from the KCCB’s Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, and erroneously signed by the relevant authorities in the Commission, suggests the Bishops support use of condoms as one of the ways in the fight against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and HPV infections.
The line quoted in the documented was presented to an audience in the broader context of modes of prevention that have been adopted globally. It was not meant for authentication by the Church.
The Catholic Bishops in Kenya have never, have not and are not changing their position that abstinence for young people and sex within a marriage are the two ways to ensure minimal STI and HIV infection spread. The Church continues to encourage moral ways of prevention of diseases and condom use is not one of these means.
Kenya has been a battle ground for years between those who advocate condom use, and those that oppose it. In May 2013 the US-based Catholics for a Free Choice began a campaign in Kenya to promote the use of condoms. It came up with ads announcing “Good Catholics Use Condoms” and urging married women to use condoms, claiming that it was:
An authentically Catholic message. We believe in God. We believe that sex is sacred. We believe in caring for each other. We believe in using condoms.
But in December 2015, The Catholic Church started a campaign against use of condoms barely a week after Pope Francis visited Kenya.
Through its Human Life International (HLI), the church has put up a billboard at the Nyeri Whisper’s Park that warned “one out of 12 condoms fail.” HLI describes itself as a Catholic apostolate working to protect life and family through education, outreach, advocacy and service.