Friday, March 27, 2009

The Holy Father and Condoms: Some Responses

There have been a number of excellent resposes to the mainstream media's conventional wisdom that the Pope is out-to-lunch on this issue.

First, Uncle Di goes to work.


"'One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use. It said the Pope's recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly inaccurate and could have devastating consequences.'

Sounds serious. These are spectacled men in white lab coats, right? They hold test-tubes and appear with Erlenmeyer flasks beside them. It behooves us to pay attention:

'But the London-based Lancet said the Pope had 'publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue'.

It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.

'Whether the Pope's error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear,' said the journal.

See if I've got this right. The 'male latex condom is the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS.' Solid. That means Science is telling me that, if my son's an HIV-negative abstinent virgin, he positively REDUCES his risk of AIDS infection by abandoning abstinence and engaging in passive sexual relations with some gork who's outfitted with a condom. Well, that's what the man says, isn't it?....

Some of us can remember when AIDS was not yet a problem, back when the public health game was to get all young women on the Pill -- ostensibly to reduce pregnancy, in reality to justify the emancipated sexuality of the advocates. In that period Science (i.e., spectacled men in white lab coats grasping Erlenmeyer flasks) was droning on about the high failure rate of the condom. Condoms were ridiculed by public health advocates as a crude backwoodsy expedient that only the naive or the unscrupulous would employ. Has the science changed in the meantime? No, only the terms of flattering the People Who Count.

Take a look at the persons who really care, as opposed to persons for whom 'caring' is an ideological posture. Mother Teresa's nuns have been running AIDS hospices in Manhattan, San Francisco, and elsewhere since the 1980s. The caregivers are nuns who come mostly from third world backgrounds; their patients come mostly from first world cities. The nuns are chaste and healthy; yet it's their patients, not they, who came of age surrounded by free condoms, sex ed, and the full force of the public health propaganda machine. If the Lancet were right it should be the other way around: the little sisters would be wasting on the cots and the Manhattanites would be tending to them. Can't help but think that what the Lancet calls the 'Pope's error' is a very felix culpa. '"


Jack Smith posts an article by Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, highlighting the analysis by the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, headed by Dr. Edward C. Green, which:

"... noted in 2004 that "There seems to be no evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa, certainly not in the five countries of present focus, that condom behavior alone can reverse the course of an HIV epidemic, no matter how high the levels attained. A recent literature review of condom promotion in resource- poor countries commissioned by UNAIDS reached a similar conclusion: 'Indeed, there are no definite examples yet of generalized epidemics that have been turned back by prevention programs based primarily on condom promotion.'"

The article quotes Dr. Green:

"This is hard for a liberal like me to admit, but yes, [the criticism of the pope is] unfair because in fact, the best evidence we have supports [the pope's] comments."


Zenit had maybe the strongest response of all:

AIDS Worker Says Africans Don't Need Condoms
Web Site Documents Catholic Approach to Pandemic

KAMPALA, Uganda, MARCH 25, 2009 ( The director of an African AIDS care center is supporting Benedict XVI's words about the ineffectiveness of condoms in the struggle against the spread of the disease.

Rose Busingye, who directs Meeting Point Kampala, a center in Kampala for those suffering from AIDS, and cares for about 4,000 people a day, responded to the Pope's words and the public criticism he received. In an interview published online March 20 by Il Sussidario, Busingye said that 'those who contribute to the polemics over the Pope's statements must in reality understand that the true problem in the spread of AIDS in Africa is not condoms; talking about this would be to stop at the consequences and never go to the origin of the problem.'

'At the root of the spread of HIV,' she explained, 'there is a behavior, there is a way of being.' She added, 'And then let's not forget that the great emergency is to take care of the people who have already contracted the disease and for whom condoms are useless.'

Offering an example of the occasional lack of comprehension of the situation in Africa, Busingye spoke about a group of journalists who had come to report on the activities of Meeting Point. Seeing the condition of the HIV-positive women, they were moved. They decided to make themselves useful and do something for the women: they gave them a small box of condoms."


Because of this, she observed, the Pope's statements caused little controversy in Africa itself.

'The Pope,' Busingye emphasized, 'is doing nothing else but defending and supporting precisely that which will be useful for helping these people: affirming the meaning of life and the dignity of the human being.'

She continued: 'Those who attack him have interests to defend, but the Pope has no such interests: he is concerned about us, and he is concerned about Africa.'

'He is not the one, who is bringing mines to blow up our children, our children who become soldiers, who become amputees, without ears, without mouths, unable to swallow saliva: and what should we give them, condoms?'

'When a few years ago there was genocide in Rwanda, everyone stood by and watched. Nearby there is a tiny town, which could have been protected, and no one did anything.'

My relatives were there, and they all died in an inhumane way. No one cared, and now they are coming here with condoms.'"

Go here to see "The Change is On" video website, which showing how the Church, and Africans, are fighting AIDS.

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