Kevin Dowling (bishop)

Styles of
Kevin Dowling
Reference style The Right Reverend
Spoken style Your Lordship
Religious style Bishop
Posthumous style not applicable

Kevin Patrick Dowling, C.SS.R., (born 14 February 1944) is a South African prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. A Redemptorist, he is the second Bishop of Rustenburg.

Early life and ordination

Born in Pretoria, Dowling was ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, more commonly known as the Redemptorists, on July 9, 1967.


He was appointed Bishop of Rustenburg on December 2, 1990, receiving his episcopal consecration on January 27, 1991 from Archbishop Denis Hurley.


Condoms and HIV

He is best known for his position that condoms should be used to prevent HIV transmission, [1] a position he first announced in 2001 in response to a question by a Catholic news agency reporter during a meeting in New York City. After stating that the Bishops' Conference had not taken a position on condom use, Dowling was asked for his personal opinion, and said that he believed condoms should be used to prevent the spread of HIV.

This was widely interpreted as contradicting Catholic teaching, which opposes the promotion of condom use, while not having a definite, recognized policy on married individuals using condoms for the precise purpose of protecting themselves against AIDS.[2][3] In private conversations the papal nuncio to South Africa told Dowling that he had strayed from Catholic teaching.[4] The Southern African Bishops Conference also described condoms as "an immoral and misguided weapon" in the fight against HIV, arguing that condom use could even encourage the spread of HIV by promoting extramarital sex.[5]

For his stance on this matter, Utne Reader, a United States magazine that provides "alternative coverage of politics, culture, and new ideas", named Dowling one of its "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World".[6]

New translation of the Mass liturgy

Dowling was also critical of the premature application by the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference of the revision of the English translation of the Mass liturgy[7] and he objected to the revision itself, which had received the Holy See's confirmation after being agreed on by English-speaking Episcopal Conferences: "I am concerned that this latest decision from the Vatican may be interpreted as another example of what is perceived to be a systematic and well-managed dismantling of the vision, theology and ecclesiology of Vatican II."[8]

Preceded by
Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya
International President of Pax Christi
Succeeded by


  1. Lindow, Megan (2005). "European Heroes 2005: Lives in the Balance". Time. Archived from the original on February 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
  2. Catholic Cardinal: Condoms are a “Lesser Evil”
  3. The Truth about Condoms
  4. AIDS Crisis Shapes Bishop's Stance
  5. Nolen, Stephanie (7 April 2007). "South African bishop defies Vatican on condoms". Toronto: Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
  6. Visionaries Who Are Changing the World
  7. SAfrica protest over new Catholic Mass translation
  8. Letter to The Southern Cross

External links

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