On the first day of his visit to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI has come out with a statement that will cost countless thousands of people their lives. He has claimed that the use of condoms doesn't help prevent AIDS, but, in fact, helps to spread it.
As someone who has done extensive work with AIDS charities in the past, I know something about the subject. The Pope is dead wrong.
The UK's Guardian reported this about his comments:
Aids, he said, "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems".This is right up there with the religious zealots who insist that there is no such thing as global warming, and believe that embryonic stem cell research is allegedly immoral and dangerous.
In those cases, such misguided positions would potentially cost lives. In this case, such spreading of ignorance will start costing lives immediately.
There is no scientific evidence to support the Pope's position. Indeed, while some condoms may break, or fail, the risk of not using condoms is far graver.
The papal answer, of course, is abstinence. We all know how well that works. To suggest that as the only answer in under-developed, third world countries, where the policy of abstinence has failed miserably, is unconscionable.
For those who suggest that the viewpoint of the Pope is always rooted in morality, I simply need to invoke 2 words...The Inquisition.
What Pope Benedict just did was to help insure that many Africans do not get the education needed to prevent the AIDS epidemic from continuing to spread. Because of such ignorance, hundreds of thousands of new infections and deaths will continue to occur.
Though some may not like to hear this, there is now blood on his hands.