The Lepanto Institute has just concluded a year-long investigation into a series of projects led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The result of this investigation is a report more than 100 pages in length with over 100 original source citations proving that CRS is both directly and indirectly promoting condoms and contraception in multiple African countries.
Due to the length and complexity of the issue, we are releasing this report in segments in order to make the information more understandable and easier to digest. We’ll publish the full and more detailed report at the end of this series.
What follows is the video explanation of the first portion of our report, proving that – despite CRS’s claims over the last 10 years – CRS is creating and publishing documents that directly promote the use of condoms, both as a means of preventing HIV and as a contraceptive. And for those who wish to browse through the information, rather than sit through a video, we’ve provided the transcript with links and images below that.
On February 13 of 2019, the Lepanto Institute discovered a single document that sparked a massive investigation into a set of multi-national projects led by Catholic Relief Services that directly involved the promotion of contraception and condoms. This year-long investigation spanned thousands of pages of documentation regarding several related but independent projects led by CRS in at least 12 different countries.
It all began when we discovered this document (Integrating Violence Against Children Prevention and Response Interventions within PEPFAR HIV Pediatric Testing, Care and treatment) on CRS’s own website. It’s a summary report of preliminary findings regarding one of CRS’s projects called 4Children.
We initially found this report on CRS.org, but you won’t find it there now. In fact, several of the documents we discovered on CRS’s website aren’t there anymore. Why? Because after we conducted our initial research, finding several CRS-produced documents that promote condom use – we spoke with CRS brass asking why recent CRS documents were promoting condoms. We were promised answers, which never came and eventually CRS’s website was scrubbed of the evidence. We anticipated this by downloading all of the documents and finding secondary sources, but what this shows is the same patters CRS always responds with whenever it is caught … promise to answer questions on condition of our silence and then hide the evidence.
Well, it didn’t work and now they’re stuck.
So, here’s what we found.
The front cover indicates it was produced by two funding agencies of the US Government, USAID and PEPFAR, and it also identifies 4Children. On the inside cover we see that the authors are Aften Beeler, Severine Cheverel, Sian Long, and Kristin Weinhauer, all of whom work for CRS – and we see that it bears CRS’s copyright for 2018.
On page 10, under the heading, “VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN AS A FACTOR IN INCREASED HIV RISK OR WORSENED HIV OUTCOMES,” it says that “There is a growing body of evidence suggesting a direct link between all forms of violence in childhood and increased risks of acquiring HIV in later life.” A few sentences later, while discussing this point, the document inserted footnote 9, which states, “In Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, sexual and physical violence in childhood was linked to inconsistent condom use.”
We thought it strange that a Catholic-produced document would be concerned with “inconsistent condom use,” but a similar point is repeated in footnote 49, found on page 26.
This is what we call a red flag. What is the 4Children project and why is it concerned with the use of condoms? We started looking through other CRS-produced 4Children documents, and what we found was shocking!
We’ll explain the 4 Children project itself in the next video, but what I’m going to show you right now is absolute proof that CRS is promoting condoms through the 4Children project, and it’s admitting such in its own documentation.
Now, remember … for the past 10 years, CRS has constantly maintained that it “has been CRS’ policy never to distribute or promote artificial contraceptives or abortifacients or to promote abortion.” In 2012, CRS claimed, “CRS does not purchase, promote or distribute condoms.”
But the documents we are about to present, show that this claim simply is not true.
Take this one for instance. On November 9, 2017, Sian Long, gave a presentation on behalf of CRS and 4Children titled, “DRC National Course on HIV and Child Protection Linkages: Year 1.”
The powerpoint presentation, which is in French, says that the content of the document is the responsibility of Catholic Relief Services and 4Children. This is followed by a string of logos, including one belonging to 4Children and one belonging to CRS.
Page 69 of this presentation makes the promotion of condoms as a means of preventing the transmission of HIV very clear. In English, the following slide says: “How to prevent Transmission of HIV Infection” and displaying a condom in point number 1, it says, “Prevention of sexual transmission.”
The next slide, which is page 70, makes it absolutely clear that the condom indicated in point one was not accidental. In English, it says:
Safe sex practices
- Abstinence: Absolute Prevention
- Good Fidelity reciprocates
- Male and female condom and good use
Page 98 reiterated the importance of indoctrinating 15-18 year olds not to engage in “unprotected sex,” meaning sex without a condom.
Accompanying this presentation was a handout, which was just as bad. The handout is clearly marked as an official document of the 4Children project, again bearing the same group of agency logos, including CRS.
Beginning on page 30, the handout delineates the various methods by which HIV is transmitted, and provides the ABC methodology of Abstinence, Be faithful and always use a Condom. Under “The modes of HIV Transmission” found on page 30, it says, in English, “The sexual way, during unprotected sex with a person affected (more than 90% of AIDS cases are transmitted by this way).”
Again, “Unprotected sex” is another way of saying sex without a condom.
Under “MEANS OF PREVENTION,” the handout then proceeds to identify “safer sex” as a means of prevention, giving greater detail to the various elements of ABC. Under the component regarding condom use, the English translation of the document says:
The condom: It is a flexible device (case) latex or polyurethane that is placed on the organ of copulation of the man or the woman to avoid the transmission of STIs and HIV / AIDS
- Condom use should be correct and consistent for any occasional sexual intercourse or with a non-regular partner
- Condoms do not provide 100% protection
- Homosexuals (MSM and FSF) will have to use it with a water-based lubricant to be safe from HIV infection
Here’s another CRS-4Children document promoting condoms. This one, also in French bears a 2017 copyright for CRS and states that its contents are the responsibility of CRS, 4Children, and the Ministry of Social Affairs (MINAS),” so, once again, the condom promotion contained in the document are the responsibility of Catholic Relief Services.
Throughout this document, it is clear that the promotion of condoms is important, but what sets this document apart from the rest is that it actually promotes condom use as a means of preventing pregnancy as well. In other words, this document is directly promoting condom use as a contraceptive. Page 43 explains to adolescents that there are many things they can do to keep them from contracting diseases but then suggests using a condom to avoid STDs, HIV as well as pregnancy. In English, it says:
“Even though it is not easy to stay healthy, you can do a number of things to stay as healthy as possible as you wash your hands before eating, try to avoid alcohol, glue or the drug or then do it in safe places, access health care with the support of an organization, if possible, and use a condom during sex to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and pregnancies.
The same passage then explains that “Safe sex helps prevent HIV.” On page 45, the document discusses the various occasions by which a child may be sexually active, including times of rape. But even there, the document makes a plug for condom promotion, saying: “While it is useful to provide information on condom use to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, it is important to recognize that its use is probably not an option when the sexual act is forced.”
Just a few sentences later, the document then stresses the importance of informing adolescents where they can go to obtain condoms: “For adolescents who need access to HIV prevention methods, such as condoms, it is important for them to know where to access them.”
This next CRS-4Children document is the one which led our team to realize that we hadn’t merely discover documents produced by CRS that promote condoms and contraception. This document proved to us that what we had uncovered ran much deeper and exposed a massive project being implemented by CRS on behalf of USAID, which would spread contraception and condom promotions and integrated networks throughout Africa.
The document is titled “HIV INFORMATION TRAINING MANUAL FOR ADOLESCENT GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN,” shows that it was produced for both 4Children and DREAMS in Lesotho. As I said in the beginning, we’ll explain the 4 Children project in the next video, and we’ll explain DREAMS in a later segment. But what is important is to see here is how this document, produced by CRS for a government-funded project, so clearly and unreservedly promotes condoms.
Once again, the inside cover makes very clear that its contents are “the responsibility of (4Children) project.” And just below this statement is the copyright, which shows, “©2018 Catholic Relief Services. All rights reserved.”
After the table of contents, the document poses the question, “What is in this pack?” The answer is, “This training manual includes basic information on HIV and AIDS that for use in the 4Children Lesotho DREAMS programme by Caritas.” In other words, this particular training manual is directly intended for CRS’s 4Children, DREAMS project in Lesotho.
Beginning on page 11, the manual provides instructions on an activity designed to educate participants on the various means by which HIV is transmitted from person to person. Included in the activity is a chart of various situations, and participants are supposed to address each by asking, “Is this activity a “Risk” or “No Risk” for getting HIV?”
The ninth point listed is “vaginal sex without a condom,” implying that not using a condom is a part of the risk.
And if you blink, you’ll miss the subtle promotion of homosexuality in the image. In the foreground of this image is a woman embracing a man, but behind and to the left of the central image is a man in an intimate embrace with another man, on a card promoting condom use.
The answer key to this activity, found on page 16 explains that such an activity is a risk and that using a condom consistently and correctly is “98% effective at preventing HIV transmission.”
Beginning on page 19 is an activity designed to educate participants on methods of preventing the spread of HIV. The manual instructs the session leader to:
ask the group “Do you know the three ways to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex that are A, B and C? When they have answered correctly, or if they cannot answer, show the A, B and C cards.”
The “ABC” method of HIV prevention is “Abstinence, Be faithful, and always use a Condom,” so what this proves is that Catholic Relief Services is directly educating and training instructors and participants on the ABC method, despite all of its previous protestations to the contrary.
Predictably, card C (for condom), which is in the manual, reiterates the claim that consistent and correct condom use is 98% effective at preventing the spread of HIV.
This clear promotion of condom use in a program led by Catholic Relief Services in a document bearing Catholic Relief Services copyright is undeniable. And if this was the only case of condom promotion in this project, we might be able to chalk it up to a mistake, an oversight, or something similar. But the continued presence of condom promotion throughout the entire program indicates an intimate complicity in the promotion of condoms.
Here’s another document. This training course, titled, “HIV-Sensitive Child Protection” bears a 2018 copyright for CRS on page 2. Not only does this document promote condoms, but it also engages in transgender and homosexual indoctrination.
On pages 169 and 170, the document clearly displays the ABC method of HIV prevention.
On page 61 is a handout titled, “The difference between sex and gender.” In this section, the manual attempts to delineate the difference between the biological definition and the social construct of gender. In other words, sex is defined as:
“something we are born with that helps us identify a person as male or female. A male person physically differs from a female. Being a male or female is a natural phenomenon that we cannot change (except through surgery)”
Gender, on the other hand is defined as:
“something that is developed in our society after the person is born that is given to those characteristics and behaviors that we normally associate with either the female or the male sex. In other words, men and women ACT differently in our society, based on what others expect of them and the way they were taught as children.”
The middle of the handout in this manual contains the real agenda in maintaining a difference between sex and gender, which is the indoctrination in homosexual and transgender ideologies. The section asks the question, “What are the consequences of gender discrimination?” The answer is:
“Gender equality is a basic right for every human being. Gender identity or sexual orientation are however often a motive for human rights violations. Below are some of the issues related to participation, violence against women, armed conflict and poverty as well as sexual and reproductive rights.
Discrimination based on sex, gender identity and sexual orientation is widespread in the world. It reduces participation opportunities for women and LGBT groups in society. There are particularly barriers preventing their full and equal participation in education, employment and political and public decision-making.”
Clearly and definitively, this CRS-produced document is not only promoting condom use, but also homosexuality and transgenderism.
Another 4Children document that bears the CRS copyright for 2018 is titled, “HIV and Caregiver Common Mental Disorder: Synergistic Impacts on Child Development and Entry Points for Interventions.”
“HIV and Caregiver Common Mental Disorder” makes five positive references to “correct and consistent condom use,” and even recommends a program that is completely committed to promoting condom use.
On page 22, the document says that those who are mentally ill have an increased risk of contracting HIV, in part, due to their lack of condom use:
“HIV risk among people with psychological disorders is associated with a lack of condom use, multiple sexual partners, high-risk sexual behaviors and the use of intravenous drugs.”
Page 34, on the other hand, discusses how family stability and strong family relationships increase the use of condoms, thereby reducing the risk of HIV:
“Family relationships and parental support are associated with condom use and later sexual initiation, while increases in risky sexual and health behaviors have been linked to poor family support and cohesion.”
Page 36 mentions how PRPFAR’s programs provide information on condom use, and then endorses such programs:
“Currently, PEPFAR’s programming for youth is targeted predominantly at HIV prevention, and includes delaying age of sexual debut and providing information about consistent and correct condom use. These programs could usefully (and relatively easily) incorporate mental health promotion, as well as mental health services, given the above associations between family HIV and child outcomes.”
And most recent among all of these documents is one that CRS published just a few days before Christmas this past December. On December 18, 2019, Catholic Relief Services uploaded a series of its own documents to a website it owns and operates called OVCsupport.org.
On this page of tools are links to three interconnected documents which, together, promote condom use for teens. The three documents are the Activity Deck, the Counseling Cards, and the “Standard Operating Procedures for Case Management.” Each of these documents was produced and published by Catholic Relief Services, and are even identified as CRS property.
The Activity Deck is what draws together the other two, which we’ll explain in a moment. On the very first page of this document, it is immediately clear that it is a publication for the 4Children Project, the contents are the sole responsibility of CRS, and it was published in July 2019.
Card 11 indicates that it pertains to “Benchmark 3.2: Adolescent HIV Prevention Knowledge.” Benchmark 3.2 is a reference to the benchmarks contained in the “Standard Operating Procedures for Case Management” document, and the mention of “CC 10 ‘Adolescent HIV Prevention’” is a reference to the Counseling Cards.
Benchmark 3.2: Adolescent HIV Prevention Knowledge is contained in the “Standard Operating Procedures for Case Management” document.
Again, this is a CRS document bearing a 2019 CRS copyright, which means that CRS cannot blame a 3rd party for inadvertently including wrong information.
Benchmark 3.2 is found on page 154 and indicates that it is directed for children ages 10-17. In order to reach the benchmark, the child must be able to identify risky behaviors which could lead to HIV infection, and ways in which to avoid becoming infected with HIV. Both questions include reference to condom use as a means of avoiding HIV infection (key sections underlined in red).
Benchmark 32, as referenced in the Activity Cards, is also referenced in the “Counseling Cards.”
As with the other two documents, the Counseling Cards indicates that CRS is responsible for the contents, with the added statement that CRS actually helped produce them as well:
“The toolkit for implementation is based on the same Standard Operating Procedures for Case Management and was developed in partnership by USAID, PEPFAR, CRS, and Picture Impact.”
Page 24 contains Counseling Card 10, titled, “Adolescent HIV Prevention,” which is what Benchmark 3.2 is in the SOP. The card contains various questions for counselors to ask teens regarding certain things they see in subsequent images pertaining to sex and HIV. On the left side of the card are a series of “Core Ideas” that the counselor is intending to convey to the teen, and at the top of the list it says “Delaying sex, limiting the number of sexual partners, and always using a condom are good practices.” The “Places where you can find more information” is a direct reference to the SOP manual.
The three documents, clearly interconnected, are conclusively designed to promote condom use. The Activity Deck indicates the need to have children be able to identify at least 1 method of protecting themselves from HIV. The SOP includes the use of condoms among acceptable answers as to how to protect oneself from HIV. And the Counseling Card directly correlated to the SOP and the Activity Card specifically states that the core ideas of this benchmark include “Delaying sex, limiting the number of sexual partners, and always using a condom are good practices.”
Calling to mind CRS’s claim that it does not “promote” condom use, it is difficult to see how conveying the idea to teens that “always using a condom” is a good practice can in any way be considered anything other than a form of promotion.
Clearly, Catholic Relief Services is promoting condoms through the 4Children program in its own documentation. Each of these documents, published as much as three years ago and as recently as a couple of months ago, is written by CRS and the 4Children project, each of these documents contains CRS’s copyright, and each of these documents promotes the use of condoms as a net good.
In our next video, we’ll explain the 4Children project and show how CRS is the custodian of an entire website that promotes condoms, contraception, and even abortion.