ope 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
- Why would a young person today be religious?
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why Holy Thursday is so important to Christians
- Texas has been holding this man hostage for 12,600 days
- How Captain America won over China
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- 3 ways elephants and neuroscience can help you make better decisions
Subscribe to the Week