Tuesday, March 17, 2009
As noted elsewhere in the article, three-quarters of all AIDS deaths worldwide in 2007 were in sub-Saharan Africa, where some 22 million people are infected with HIV -- accounting for two-thirds of the world's infections.
Pope Benedict XVI said condoms are not the answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa and can make the problem worse, setting off criticism Tuesday as he began a weeklong trip to the continent where some 22 million people are living with HIV.
Benedict's first statement on an issue that has divided even Catholic clergy working with AIDS patients came hours before he arrived in Cameroon's capital -- greeted by thousands of flag-waving faithful who stood shoulder-to-shoulder in red dirt fields and jammed downtown streets for a glimpse of the pontiff's motorcade.
In his four years as pope, Benedict had never directly addressed condom use, although his position is not new. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, often said that sexual abstinence -- not condoms -- was the best way to prevent the spread of the disease.
Benedict also said the Roman Catholic Church was at the forefront of the battle against AIDS.
''You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms,'' the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane heading to Yaounde. ''On the contrary, it increases the problem.''
The pope said a responsible and moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease, as he answered questions submitted in advance by reporters traveling on the plane. His response was presumably also prepared in advance.
I could go on and on about this, but that really says it all. People are dying because of this nonsense, dying in large numbers, and it is an ongoing outrage. There should be protests directed against the Church exponentially larger than those ignited by the sexual molestation scandals.