Pope: Just Say 'No' to Condoms

Malori Maloney
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As if reinforcing gender roles, blaming sex abuse within the Church on homosexuality, and rescinding the 20-year-old excommunication of a bishop who denies the Holocaust (while simultaneously supporting the excommunication of pro-choicers) weren't enough…


While on a tour of Africa this week, Pope Benedict XVI said that condoms do not help the problem of HIV/AIDS; on the contrary, the distribution of condoms "increases the problem." Wow. The Vatican's moral stance on contraceptives (sex is for baby-making, so contraception is wrong) is not reason enough for a big-time religious leader to deny the efficacy of condoms as STI risk reducers. Not only is his claim scientifically unsupportable, it's irresponsible and dangerous. As an extremely well known religious leader with a significant following, the pope should show a little more respect to at-risk individuals and communities, as well as his followers.

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16 Comments Have Been Posted

"As an extremely well known

"As an extremely well known religious leader with a significant following, the pope should show a little more respect to at-risk individuals and communities, as well as his followers."

When recently has the Catholic church really gave a shit about its people, more specifically its African people?

(In hopes of being ironic)

(In hopes of being ironic) Amen to that! This is just another example of how globalization and everything that comes with it is just another era of colonization. They don't care what happens to Africans even though Africa has the fastest growing Christian and Catholic population. They have recently overtaken Latin America in that respect. So why would the leader of the Catholic Church ever give a shit about these people? I'm just disgusted by the turn that the Church has taken, even just in my lifetime let alone the entire history of the Church.

This is how much they give a shit:

<i>When recently has the Catholic church really gave a shit about its people, more specifically its African people?</i>

Meanwhile, down here, in the country with the WORLD'S LARGEST FUCKING CATHOLIC POPULATION, here's a little sample of how much the Ol' Ratzie and The Big Hats care about the ones in need:



The rapist didn't get as much as a 10 hail-Marys pennance.

The catholic church operates

The catholic church operates under the highly optimistic assumption that catholics stay virgins till marriage and never cheat on their partners. In that utopia maybe condoms aren't needed, but the reality is people screw around regardless of marital status. When they give in to their sexual urges, it seems far more reasonable to for the church to encourage people to slap on a condom than pretend situations like that never arise.

Mind boggling

I cannot believe someone who is supposed to be such an influencial "leader" would make such an ignorant statement in a place where protection against STD's is desperately needed. Although I don't have a very high opinion of the Catholic church, I really expected better than this!

People aren't going to stop having sex if you simply tell them to- if things were that easy then the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Africa may been resolved a long time ago. Africans need to be educated on proper safe sex methods- not discouraged to use them at all!

Want to be even more pissed at the catholic church?

Has any one else heard about the 9 year old girl From Brazil who was raped by her father and became pregnant with twins? Her family and doctors decided it would be best to have an abortion because she was so tiny that bringing them to term would likely kill her. In response the catholic church excommunicated her family as well as the doctors who helped her....but not the father who raped and impregnated her. Now thats the kind of love, compassion and justice Christ would be proud of .
Here's more info on that, if you can stomach it.



Thought I'd update... the

Thought I'd update... the Catholic Church has taken it back.

The step-father was not Catholic, so they couldn't excommunicate him.

How effective would it be to

How effective would it be to call for a massive boycott of the church?

aren't you already

aren't you already boycotting it by not being a catholic? what more could you do? next time you need some free food, just go to a different denomination? they're not trying to sell you anything... all they provide is oppressive religious services and sometimes halfway decent charity functions which they'd like to spiritually blackmail you into paying for.

and of course the pope is a douche... that's like stating that the earth goes around the sun. oh wait -- took a looongg time for catholics to figure that one out, too.

sorry for the passive aggressive snark... recovering catholic here and i just so have no hope for my people.

Can you imagine?

Can you imagine Jesus himself, boycotting something as life-saving as condoms—which would save countless lives of men women and children? I'd bet that he'd not only condone it, but he'd be on the frontlines passing them out!

Pope is old fashioned, what else is new

According to the article he was advocating abstinence. In that case, he is correct. Abstinence is perfectly affective. Condoms can break. If everyone followed his advice and didn't have sex until they were married and got tested before hand AIDS would eventually cease to be a problem. He is right, he is just not realistic. Neither is the belief that god had a magical son who we should all worship. That is also very unrealistic. I really think you are picking the wrong battle here. The Catholic Church supplies so much help for poor countries and they do supply enormous amounts of help for Africans. More than the US does! You're probably not doing anything to help Africans. It's pretty obvious that their beliefs are old-fashioned. I mean the Church totally pisses me off but you are not being realistic either, and you're kind of being rude. I really wish you guys would stick to smart criticisms instead of wailing on religious figures, as stuck in the past as they may be.

Regarding the pope's statement...

I agree with you that abstinence is effective for the prevention of STIs. However, condoms, when used correctly, are nearly as effective. Moreover, for many people, they are much more practical than abstinence. My problem with the pope's statements don't lie in his emphasis on abstinence but rather in his assertion that condoms <i>increase</i> the problem of HIV/AIDS, which is a pretty risky bit of misinformation.  Also, I'd like to clarify that I am not criticizing the Catholic Church as a whole (though there are many aspects I <i>could</i> criticize), but rather the pope as an individual representative of the Church.

True, but...

Too often, church-sponsored humanitarian aid comes with strings attached; while communities are no longer required to convert, I wonder how much good the aid is when it is accompanied by biased messages that can have a huge impact on peoples' health and safety.

His words were "[condoms] increase the problem." THIS is a fallacy, considering numerous studies have shown people in most African nations engage in the same amount of sexual activity regardless of condom availability. He is correct that abstinence is the best way of preventing disease, but this is completely unrealistic and he did not state it precisely this way; it IS possible to promote abstinence without spreading lies about condoms. If I were an African woman, and suspected that my husband were being unfaithful, according to the Catholic church it is forbidden to seek divorce AND forbidden to use protection during sex.... so, where does that leave you?

If I were an African

If I were an African Catholic man and suspected that my wife were being unfaithful, according to the Catholic church it is forbidden to seek divorce AND forbidden to use protection during sex.... so where does this leave me?

hmmm maybe I should stop being Catholic? Am I allowed to do that? Oh, yes I am! Everybody is! And the Catholic Church will still give me charity if I need it! I chose to be Catholic! I probably shouldn't blame the Church for the fact that African countries cannot provide their citizens with sexual education, since they have no control over it. Shucks, they are even help my community when no one else will. Maybe as an African I am really sick of people assuming that I am in some way more easily brainwashed into accepting a certain religion than white people.

I'm not Catholic or a man. The Catholic Church is frustrating but the only consequences of disobeying their beliefs is that you will go to hell. It is really pathetic that the Pope is so misinformed, so hopefully Africa will become richer and start providing free liberal education to everyone!!!! Somehow I don't see that happening any time soon, and I really don't think that the Pope or the Catholic Church plays as big of a role in that as you might think. Although the Pope's exact statement was wrong, he has preached his views concerning birth control before in much greater detail and he knows that they can prevent AIDS. But he also knows they fail so he is naively aiming for abstinence. What do you want? For the pope to endorse condoms and start educating people about them? I'm just saying its so obvious that's never going to happen.

I do agree in part with the

I do agree in part with the Pope. The problem is, people aren't using them correctly and efficiently every single time, they are not monogamous, engage in risky behavior, and are promiscuous. Also, prostitution and rape are also problems. I know that in some parts of Africa, there is still the wide belief that having sex with a virgin will cure them of AIDS. Plus, people are not always monogamous and don't tell their partners.

People are also using condoms incorrectly and inefficiently. Throwing condoms at people won't help, changing lifestyle beliefs and teaching people will, as well as promoting abstinence and monogamy and discouraging unhealthy lifestyles.

"Pope Benedict XVI said that

"Pope Benedict XVI said that condoms do not help the problem of HIV/AIDS; on the contrary, the distribution of condoms “increases the problem"
I don't want to coment on that single phrase taken out the whole speach. And nobody should. Give us the whole text so we could understand why he said that and what reasons he added to that phrase.

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