It’s been a busy week here at the CUF office, so more on Pope Benedict’s trip to Africa on Monday . . . which, unfortunately, has been rather overshadowed here in the West by his comment (in an interview on the plane trip to Cameroon) that the distribution of condoms won’t stop the spread of AIDS.
So, for the weekend, a couple worthwhile pieces of clear commentary on that whole situation.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, over at National Review Online, reports that Harvard actually agrees with the Pope. Or, more accurately, Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, says, “The pope is correct.”
He also notes, “We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working.”
It’s a brief article, and it’s worth a read.
Joanna Bogle, who has written for Lay Witness, was part of what must have been one of the world’s most frustrating interviews ever (thanks to The Curt Jester for the link). She was more or less baited (interviewer: “What about the central message here, which is that the Pope is clearly condemning many, many . . . innocent people in Africa to death”), told to calm down, interrupted, and more or less ignored when trying to make a point.
Bogle makes some excellent points and cuts through a lot of the blather that obfuscates this issue. Thank goodness. And yet, at the end, which side won? The devil speaks in smooth, cool tones, doesn’t he?
The thing I can’t get past is that the interviewer and the other interviewee seem to actually believe what they’re saying–condoms will do just fine for people, they’re really the only option, and how could the Pope say otherwise? It’s another reminder that we need to keep proclaiming the truth in love. People need to hear it. And we ourselves need to be continually converted by that same truth.
Plus, Diogenes offers a satire–“African Wife-Beaters Urged to Practice Safe-Sox”–and exposes the complete absurdity of it all.
Finally, American Papist has a whole set of links to news stories and commentary.
In the interest of ending on a positive note, a tidbit from Pope Benedict:
Sons and daughters of Africa, do not be afraid to believe, to hope, and to love; do not be afraid to say that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that we can be saved by him alone. . . . Africa is called to hope through you and in you! With Jesus Christ, who trod the African soil, Africa can become the continent of hope!