Posts Tagged 'AIDS'

The Pope Does It Again

My downtime lasted rather longer than I expected, but I’ll try to catch up with things as soon as I can. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), the Pope has put his foot in it again since I last checked my RSS feeds:

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI urged Cameroon’s bishops Wednesday to defend the traditional African family from the dangers of modernity and secularization and to spare the poor from the impact of globalization.

On his first African pilgrimage, Benedict also called it the duty of all Christians – particularly those with political and economic responsibilities – to contribute to the building of a “more just world where everyone can live with dignity.”


In a briefing to reporters, Lombardi also elaborated on the pope’s comments a day earlier on condom use and the fight against AIDS, which had set off criticism. The pope said that the distribution of condoms is not the answer, and that, “on the contrary, it increases the problem.”

Lombardi noted the pope was expressing a long-standing Vatican position. He said Benedict wanted to stress that a reliance on condoms distracted from the need for proper education in sexual conduct. (Source)

Using condoms is proper sexual conduct. HIV and AIDS are killing people in parts of Africa at genuinely terrifying rates, but it’s not going to stop people having sex. That’s the fundamental problem that the Vatican seems incapable of accepting – pronouncements from the Bible are not going to stop people having sex, the spread of disease is not going to stop people having sex, and a pompous, ignorant man in a white robe is certainly not going to stop people having sex. Yes, it would be wonderful if everyone could match up with an uninfected partner and never engage in risky behaviour with anyone else, but that just doesn’t happen. The Pope is in a position to speak to millions of people, and he uses that power to give advice that is grounded in neither reality nor scientific evidence. And people continue to die.

The most frightening thing about all of this is that the Catholic Church no doubt believes – genuinely, truly believes – that it’s helping people. That doesn’t make this stupidity any more excusable, only more tragic.