Pope Benedict XVI, en route to AIDS-stricken Africa, made the “absurd and irresponsible claim,” said The Times of London in an editorial, that AIDS “cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.” The Catholic reliance on abstinence and fidelity is “inadequate” to deal with the AIDS epidemic. And “Africa has suffered as a result.”
The pope’s remarks were taken out of context, said John Thavis in Catholic News Service. In the “simmering” Catholic debate over condoms, there is still no Vatican consensus on their use by HIV-infected individuals—it’s under review. The pope’s point, apparently, is that condoms do sometimes fail, and that pushing them as fail-safe could increase promiscuity, and thus AIDS.
It’s true that condoms can’t provide “absolute protection” against AIDS, said The New York Times in an editorial, but it’s “grievously wrong” to say they are aggravating the epidemic. On the contrary, condoms are essential to any “well-rounded” AIDS-prevention policy. Pope Benedict is free to express his moral views on condoms, but he “deserves no credence” when he distorts science.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- 6 simple steps for making millions on a crappy horror movie
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- Why 2014 may be as good as it gets for the Republican Party
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- Why America needs more billionaires
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
Subscribe to the Week