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Catholics attack
NYC's free condoms

Catholics attack
NYC's free condoms

New York City's top Catholic leaders on Thursday sharply criticized the city for ''blanketing our neighborhoods with condoms,'' saying city officials were promoting promiscuity and degrading society by distributing subway-themed condoms.

The city launched the new official condoms on Valentine's Day, with volunteers handing out free samples throughout the city, including on a street corner near St. Patrick's Cathedral in midtown Manhattan.

The plan, the Catholic leaders said, ''is tragic and misguided,'' adding that the only way to protect against sexually transmitted diseases is through abstinence before marriage and fidelity among married couples.

''Our political leaders fail to protect the moral tone of our community when they encourage inappropriate sexual activity by blanketing our neighborhoods with condoms,'' said Cardinal Edward Egan, head of the archdiocese of New York, and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn in a joint statement.

Stu Loeser, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said, ''With all due respect to Cardinal Egan and Bishop DiMarzio, we feel differently.''

New York officials revamped the condom wrapper in hopes that a distinctive design--featuring the words ''NYC Condom'' in the fonts and colors used in the subway system--will let them track usage with their annual community health survey.

Egan and DiMarzio said the $720,000 cost of the program ''would be far better spent in fostering what is true and what is decent.'' (AP)

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