Pope tells Africa ‘condoms wrong’

I try to respect other people’s religious beliefs, but sometimes it’s really hard when something is said that is this STUPID.  What empirical data did the Pope use to determine that condom use makes the HIV/Aids problem worse?

Does the Pope in his infinite wisdom not get that while abstinence is a good idea it’s not an idea that is often followed.  Guess what my dear Pope…PEOPLE HAVE SEX.  People have sex outside of the confines of marriage.  They just do….always have and always will.

Africa doesn’t need you to talk about wrapping your arms around it because quite frankly that’s just patronizing and useless metaphorical bullshit.   What the people of Africa need are real life viable means of preventing and treating Aids.

Pope Benedict XVI, who is making his first papal visit to Africa, has said that handing out condoms is not the answer in the fight against HIV/Aids.

The pontiff, who preaches marital fidelity and abstinence, said the practice only increased the problem.


Pope Benedict said on the eve of his trip that he wanted to wrap his arms around the entire continent, with “its painful wounds, its enormous potential and hopes”.


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38 Responses to Pope tells Africa ‘condoms wrong’

  1. Wizcon says:

    Amen Sage!
    Its a reality of humanity.

    Sage Reply:

    They can preach abstinence all they want and there’s nothing wrong with abstinence except most people don’t abstain. It’s just the way it is.

  2. AliSilver says:

    Well I’m not Catholic, and I’m not saying this to offend any catholics………..but SIGH……here goes

    This POPE is crazy looking . The last POPE looked sweet and good
    and all the things that make you feel warm and fuzzy about a POPE. This guy is kinda scary! SO I wonder if any Catholics feel the same
    way. AND yes, you cannot judge a book by it’s cover,,, I’m just saying,,, he doesn’t come across the same was as forme Pope.

    Is it just me ?

    And,,, er,,, no comment on the condom issue :|

    Sage Reply:

    I just don’t get the whole idea of a Pope and I certainly don’t get the long dress with the pointy hat deal.

    I’m not much into tradition and ceremony and all that jazz.

    National Republicrat Reply:

    You hit the nail on the head! He has the same look that I saw from time to time with George W. Bush. Kind of like they have no soul. Dunno how else to put it.

  3. Wizcon says:

    There is comfort and familiarity in ritual. Everything has a meaning but it is lost on the average worshipper. Its steps to bring you closer to God. That said, Nuns praying with their rosary exhibit the same brain patterns as Buddhists in deep meditation.
    You are right Ali. The previous Pope was extrodinary as Popes go. He also finally and forever put to rest the joke “Is the Pope Polish?” when the obvious answer to a question was no.

    Sage Reply:

    I find ritual boring. But that’s just me. :-)

  4. fsteele says:

    Good grief. Does this mean that clerks can conscientiously object to ringing up condoms at the checkout counter?

    Sage Reply:

    LOL…that wouldn’t surprise me.

  5. leslie says:

    “The pontiff, who preaches marital fidelity and abstinence. . . “
    I have a friend who has a family member who, as a nun learned that there was a “secret” underground pathway from the rectory to the convent so it was easier to tryst. or what ever they called it.

    Oh, but maybe the pontiff didn’t mean abstinence for the clergy. Yup, that’s what it is… the rulz are for the laity.

    leslie Reply:

    this morning, BBC has this:
    France chastises Pope on condoms
    “The French foreign ministry has voiced “sharp concern” following the Pope’s rejection of condom use to fight Aids. Benedict XVI, who is on a tour of Africa, said handing out condoms only increased the problem of HIV/Aids.”


    Sage Reply:

    Hi, Leslie….how are you?

    As I said earlier, I would like to know what evidence the Pope has that handing out condoms increases the problem.

  6. AliSilver says:

    I went to a catholic church once a youngster with a friend,,,,,,,,,,BORINGGGGGGGGGG. That being said, I grew up
    in Assembly of God, where my grnadfather preached and
    attended COUNTLESS hellfire brimstone sermons…….
    Equally BORINGGGGGG!


    Wizcon Reply:

    As a kid, I was the only non catholic of my friends that actually went to church. My mother taught as a lay teacher in a catholic school. She taught math classes while someone else took her class for religious studies. She also invited the nuns over for a hemming and hair party when they were allowed to shorten their dresses and show their hair. I had to find a non catholic friend to help with that.
    8th grade I went to a lot of catholic confirmations. I also had the biggest collection of St Christopher medals. I was a target for conversion.
    But even then I realized the role of the ritual because I was looking for something familiar about the catholic ceremonies. I was raised Lutheran. My uncle was a Lutheran Pastor. I rathered enjoyed his flourish. He had an interesting collection of robes. My favorite was tie dyed with a dive bombing dove made for him by the Souix tribe when they adopted him for his work with them. He wore that when I got married.

  7. Desert Sage says:

    The “they’re gonna do it no matter what” argument is a red herring. Abstinence is the ONLY guaranteed way to provide 100% avoidance of the disease. Any other method is simply a preventative measure with associated probability of failure.

    What “evidence” does the Pope have… simple psychology. If you reinforce bad behavior, you yield bad behavior.

    Condom distribution can reinforce bad behaviour because it offers protection from consequences. Unfortunately, condom use is not a 100% protection, so practically the problem could get worse if the masses perceive them as an absolute method to avoid contracting disease.

    Cardinal Sins and the balance of the Seven Virtues:

    Gluttony – Temperance
    Wrath – Patience
    Envy – Kindness
    Pride - Humility
    Sloth – Diligence
    Lust – Chastity
    Greed – Charity

    To argue that the Pope is out-of-touch, or “…stupid” because he promotes the ideal or virtuous path is simply hypocritical and somewhat obtuse.

    We complain that too many people are obese, but yet we sit on the couch and absorb the drivel on television instead of going to the gym.

    We complain about greed on the part of AIG executives, but yet we all struggle to balance our own selfishness with selflessness. When was the last time you told your boss not to give you a raise because they paid you too much?

    Is “thou shalt not kill” simply “patronizing and useless metaphorical bullshit”? I think that one falls under Wrath, and it doesn’t come from a naive wish that everyone is born a good person. I would rather Patience prevail.

    The rest are easy. Fill in the blanks yourself… we’re all hypocrites.

    And yes, anyone can argue that virtue is outdated and unrealistic, but isn’t this simply a lazy man’s justification for bad behavior? I don’t think human nature has changed, so why would our virtues? Unfortunately, the “anything goes” mentality that permeates recent generations is not going to lead us to a more civil society.

    I’ve got one foot in the Pope’s camp on this one Sage.

    Grace Reply:

    I am not a Catholic, but I do understand what the pope is trying to say. I have a friend who is in South Africa doing mission work. She told me that the generation of 20-45 is now wiped out due to AIDS. The older generation are left broken hearted with grandchildren to raise. Funeral and coffin business are the best business to be in. It is a sad scene to witness.

    Condom is just a band-aid to AIDS disease and will not solve the “consequence” of fornication and adultery acts. Many of them think condom is 100% full proof, and the answer of free wild sex without getting this deadly disease.

    However, pope failed to point these people towards Christ. Because without God’s deliverance, it is hard for most to be abstinent. That’s my take on this issue.

    Sage Reply:

    Hi Grace….I agree to a point. Even being a born again Christian is no guarantee that one will stick to abstinence. And what about married couples? Married couples are giving each other aids.

    No, condoms aren’t a guarantee but using condoms at least gives one a chance of not contracting the disease. There are tests being done on a vaginal gel that is quite promising in preventing AIDS.

    If each of us had to pay the penalty of death for our sins there wouldn’t be many people alive. Sexual sin is not worse than other sins….sin is sin.

    Grace Reply:

    I know Catholic church does not promote using condom even to married couples. I think that’s too extreme. Fornication and adultary is the result of our fallen nature. The husband or wife contracted AIDS due to unfaithfulness. I have come to know a South African lady lastyear and she mentioned some women decided to stay with their husband despite the fact they contracted AIDS by sleeping around freely. She knew one particular woman from her town got AIDS from her husband and died. I do not know they used condom or not. As for my friend, her husband died of AIDS also. But she divorced him due to his unfaithfulness.

    I did not say I agree entirely with what the pope says. This whole condom thing is almost like drivers think with their seatbelt buckled down, they are exempted from being hurt from driving recklessly.

    “If each of us had to pay the penalty of death for our sins there wouldn’t be many people alive. Sexual sin is not worse than other sins….sin is sin.” I do not quite understand that statement. Which death, Sage? My understanding of “The penalty of sin is death” is refering to spiritual death in the Bible.

    Sage Reply:

    I’m talking about physical death.

    Grace Reply:

    Oh ok…it did not make sense to me because all of us have to die one way or another physically.

    Sage Reply:

    Certainly we all have to die of something but I find it horrific for someone to die of Aids when it could have been prevented. Yes, abstinence is the best way to prevent it but not everyone will choose abstinence and I don’t think they are necessarily more sinful than other people. We all sin.

    Grace Reply:

    Who thinks that fornication and adultary are “more” sinful? I don’t. I just said their direct consequence happens to be deadly particularly in Africa continent.

    Sage Reply:

    Sorry, Grace. I didn’t mean to make it sound like that’s what you thought.

    Grace Reply:

    lol, not a problem Sage!

    Sage Reply:

    I start a train of thought and sometimes put everything into one response. Sorry.

    Grace Reply:

    I agree there is definitely problems in the core of Catholism teaching. I am no theologian here. It’s a very work based oriented religion, which is totally opposed to protestant teaching– we are saved by grace through faith alone. (Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God) Have you watched the movie, Martin Luther? I believe the movie was made 4-5 years ago. And there was a classic balck and white version too.

    Do not worry, I still love you to pieces, Sage! :)

    Sage Reply:

    No, I haven’t seen that movie. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    I’ve missed hearing from you!

    Grace Reply:

    Hey Sage…my entire comment went *poof* and disappeared.

    I have been busy going to interview. I am taking a break though, and do not want to be a proffesional in job hunting. The last interview was yesterday afternoon. The man told me I am over-qualified and might get bored with the job. Hmmm…what does that even mean? I should be ashamed of being a college graduate?

    My parents taught my siblings and I that no job is too small or simple that we should oay less attention to. We should always try our very best in all things.

    Other than that, I have been tending to some my seeds…hopefully I can grow a small garden this year. We will see…lol! Wonder if my thumb is getting green, lol!

    Sage Reply:

    I’ve been job hunting as well without much luck.

    I hate the “your over qualified” comment. Like you said, what does that mean?

    Grace Reply:

    Well, many people lost their jobs over the last few months, and they have absorbed whatever is out in the job market. There is no telling will jobs get even more scarce through time.

    I just do not have convident at all for the politicians in DC in restoring our current situation. We can only blame Bush for creating this huge government with programs that we do not need, and kill the economy by starting this Iraq war. I do not care to hear how he inherited Clinton’s going downhill economy. Well, it was his responsibility to stop that instead of making it worse in 8 years. I am watching if Obama keeps his word. So far, his bailout plans are worthless.

  8. Sage says:

    Sorry, I still think it’s stupid to depend on abstinence to stop a deadly disease. If abstinence was something people really took seriously and engaged in then we would have unwanted pregnancies and AIDS.

    I’m not saying abstinence is a bad thing, I’m just saying it’s an unrealistic expectation. People need choices to protect themselves because we know they often choose not to be abstinent.

    People don’t need bad behavior reinforced to engage in bad behavior. And it goes back to some people don’t see it as bad behavior.

    Abstinence only programs have failed miserably and that’s the reality of it.

  9. Catholic evidence says:

    Have you even tried to find any evidence at all, or are you so sure that just because you’ve heard the same message over and over it must be true? It’s interesting that everybody knows the Catholic Church has an agenda, but so few ever think there could be an agenda in the media coverage of this issue. Here is an interesting link, http://www.chastity.com/chastity/index.php?id=7&entryid=234. Be sure to look at the reviews of the self professed flaming liberal’s book Rethinking AIDS Prevention http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-AIDS-Prevention-Successes-Developing/dp/0865693161. Some people are starting to get the impact of going against the Natural Law. If you’re not sure what that is, don’t worry there are plenty of health experts and media elite to keep you company. Search the catechism of the catholic church natural law. You may come to realize the Pope and the Church are not so STUPID after all.

    Sage Reply:

    Evidence of what?

    I probably know as much or more about the Catholic Church than most Catholics. I used to study the Catholic Encyclopedia. And I daresay I do more research on subjects than most people.

    As I said to Grace, if everyone had to pay the penalty of death for their sins there wouldn’t be many people. Sin is sin and sexual sin is certainly no worse than many others that “good” Christians commit every day.

    I get the impression that some people think that we shouldn’t try to prevent AIDS because those who are fornicating are guilty and deserve to get a deadly disease. That attitude is one I vehemently disagree with.

    And should the sins of the father be paid for by the children? Women with AIDS have children with AIDS.

    Abstinence certainly has a place in the prevention of AIDS but reality is not everyone will be abstinent…condoms give those people a chance of not spreading the deadly disease to other adults or to unborn children.

    Catholic evidence Reply:

    I’m wondering if you read the first link I sent you. In your initial post you had at least 3 points: 1)what evidence does the pope have to make a suggestion that condoms can be more of a problem than help, 2)although abstinence and fidelity sounds good it won’t work because people won’t do it and 3)the people of Africa deserve a real life viable means of preventing and treating AIDS. Please read the article as #’s 1 and 3 are covered, but just in case I’ll review some things.
    The article reviews several things but one striking revealation is the plight of Uganda that had infection rate drop from 22% in 1991 to 6% in 1999. Uganda’s government shunned condom distribution programs for an abstinence and fidelity focus. From 1989-1995 casual sex rates in Uganda dropped 65% with some of the sharpest declines in the teenage group. At the time of the decline condom use in males was 5%. One scientist estimated that if South Africa had implemented Uganda’s policy that over 3 million lives would have been saved from 2000-2010.
    The reason why behavior change is needed is because the most telling sign for the spread of AIDS is the number of sexual partners, not condom use. Studies show that protection rates decrease with repeated exposure which is what happens when one thinks the act is “safe”. Two powerful quotes from Dr. Edward Green a Havard Scientist whose book reviews I suggested in my previous post include “20 years of into the pandemic there is no evidence that more condoms leads to less AIDS” and “Over a lifetime it is the number of sexual partners that matter, condom levels are found to be non-determining of HIV infection levels.” These quotes are from an ardent Democrat, not the pope’s sidekick.
    The article goes on to review several other interesting things such as proper use of condoms. Would you like to guess what percentage of couples consistently and correctly used condoms when they were trained and the partner had HIV? Try 50%. It’s 8% for those with herpes. If people who know the other person is infected don’t use them at a high percentage, you know the general population will not use them consistently. Also, the infection rates may be up to 100x greater in the first few months that one is infected because there is no build up of antibodies. Often, the person will still test negative at this time. Thus, delaying relations for six months would alone significantly drop infection rates. Lastly, Swaziland (43% infected, 5% Catholic), Botswana (37% infected, 4% Catholic), South Africa (22% infected, 6% Catholic), Uganda (4% infected, 43% Catholic) and Philippines (.03% infected, 80% Catholic). In 1987, there were 135 HIV cases in the Philippines and 112 in Thiland. The World Health Organization predicted 85,000 deaths in the Philippines and 70,000 in Thiland by 1999. The Filipino back the Catholic Church’s teachings while Thiland went to a “100% condom use program”. In 2005 Thiland’s HIV infections was 50x’s the Philippines (580,000 to 12,000).
    So, there is a lot of empirical data to support the pope. And there are programs already out there. Isn’t it amazing that someone as savy and learned as you does not know it? I’m not trying to be condenscending. I’m referring to the bias and the agenda I mentioned in my previous post. That agenda is literally killing people and has other well intentioned people like yourself deceived.
    Your second point of your initial post mentioned the fact that people always have done it and always will. This is why the pope said the solution is to be found in a “spiritual and human awakening” as well as “friendship for those who suffer.” The pope knows that to deal with this only in the realm of science without a concern of the human soul will always lead to partial and ineffective solutions. This is why I also encouraged you to look up the Church’s teaching on the Natural Law which always supports the whole truth both science and morality. I appreciate that you have studied the Catholic Ecyclopedia, and I would certainly believe you know more than most Catholics. But you saying that you read about Catholicism so you know about it is like saying I’ve read about playing concert piano, so I can play it. I not only study Catholicism, I practice it. It wasn’t always so. I used to be just like you saying the Church is crazy, but that little thing called the truth kept tripping me up. Like it says in the article, “All truth passes through 3 stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Sage, which stage are you passing through?

  10. Sage says:

    Well, that rather puts me in a no win position using the caveat that what you portray as truth is truth. I reject the idea that abstinence will be used by everyone or that people who don’t choose abstinence deserve to get Aids and die. I believe people need choices and condoms are one choice to reduce the risk of getting Aids for those who don’t choose abstinence.

    First of all, the first link is hardly from an unbiased source. I daresay that statistics were hand picked to prove the whole point of the purpose of the website. And of course abstinence is more effective, but only if it is put into practice. There are millions of people who won’t choose abstinence and that is reality.

    As for my knowledge of the Catholic church, suffice it to say that I know enough about it to have no respect for it. I usually am not that blunt but since you seem to think that practicing catholicism is the only way to know about it I’ll just come out and say it. I studied it’s history and I found it appalling. I’ve studied its tenants and I find many of them unBiblical. I’m not passing through a stage….I’ve studied the Catholic church and reject it and it’s practices.

    As I said earlier, abstinence is a good thing when people practice it. Not everyone will and certainly married couples won’t. The use of condoms by prostitutes has been proven to reduce HIV/Aids. So yes, I think it’s stupid to insist that condoms not be part of solving the overall problem of the spread of aids.

    As for whom is being deceived I’ll leave that one alone.

    PS…do a Google search of statistics of Aids reduction due to the use of condoms. Statistics most definitely get cheery picked to prove a point but often hand picked statistics don’t tell the whole truth.

  11. Catholic evidence says:

    I do enjoy the communication. Believe it or not, I’m not in this to win a debate. My original post was the first comment I’ve made on any blog, article etc. I lost my posting virginity to you Sage, and I didn’t even use protection! The main reason I commented is because of the agenda that is portrayed and repeated over and over on such issues. They begin with the presentation of some moral issue (condoms/AIDS prevention, contraception, abortion, marriage/divorce, traditional families, embryonic stem cell research, homosexuality/marriage etc) with a partial quote or teaching by the Church which is then backhandedly mocked as being out of touch, unrealistic, unscientific, irrational, cruel, bigoted etc. After this will be a review of some failing, abuse, or sin that present or past members have done to make certain the point that support of such a teaching could only be done in blind obedience without serious thought by the poor, intellectually small who huddle in the dark. What is rarely done is to provide any deep consideration as to any social or scientific support for the Church’s teaching or how it coincides to it’s mission to bring members to the fullness of God’s love for them and His plan for them to lead a holy life and get to heaven. I say this because little reference is ever given as to the mission of the Church just mentioned. The Church is not the US government, the Red Cross, an international AIDS prevention organization etc. When the pope comes to Africa, he comes to build up and support the Church and lead them to Christ. The comment was a response to a reporter trying to bait him into something controversial. The pope correctly stated that HIV/AIDS was a tragedy that cannot be overcome with money or the distribution of condoms, which can even increase (I believe he said aggrivate) the problem. Then he went on to say the answer (from his and the Church’s view given the mission stated previously)lay in a “spiritual and human awakening” which is absolutely correct. Again he is first and foremost speaking to Catholics who on there own free will have chosen to be part of the Church. As a member of the Church you are instructed to remain chaste in courtship, participate in sex only within a faithful and commited marriage and don’t use illegal drugs. That not only helps protect your soul but also your body–a perfect example of the Natural Moral Law.
    Sage, you seem to be very thoughtful, but your initial comment reminded me so much of what I see over and over in print and television media. I never saw it (the agenda) or understood how it affected me until I became a “faithful” Catholic. I say this because I’ve been Protestant, a cafeteria Catholic and one who is growing more faithful. I’ve lived both sides of many of the Church’s teachings and have become more and more aware that my confusion of a teaching should be met first with a humble desire to fully know it rather to reject it off hand.
    Lastly, I want to thank you for your reference about cherry picking stats and biased sources. You know that goes both ways. Be honest with me, the sources of the historical information about the Catholic Church that helped you, were any of them provided to you by people who love the Church and had their life transformed by it? Also, have you ever read good Catholic books about the great saints of the Church or even Mother Theresa or John Paul II? I ask you because it would be unfair to judge an entity only on it’s failures. What about the full acceptance and participation in the Church helped those people to live the life they lived? Who lived the proclaimed teachings of the Church more fully, those who appalled you, or those that inspired and changed the world through their sacrifice and love for their fellow man?

    Sage Reply:

    The main source was the Catholic Encyclopedia. As for my first comment being something you have heard over and over that is my personal conclusion based on research and observation. I’m not very easily swayed by propaganda and I think it is self evident that abstinence only isn’t the only weapon needed in the fight for Aids prevention or preventing pregnancy.

    I didn’t base my opinion of the Catholic church on it’s failures alone, it has more to do with it’s beliefs.

  12. Bantryb says:

    Dear Catholic Evidence,

    I have read, with great interest, your responses to Sage’s post and must say, hear, hear and AMEN!

    Thank you for your thoughtful, obviously well-researched post. While I am not Catholic, I understood what the Pope was attempting to convey by his comments. I appreciate the full context of the conversation and applaud you for providing it.

    Welcome to the world of blogging. Your opinions are respected by many and much appreciated!

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