Are you surprised? I guess some people are… considering the controversy these days. Here’s a report from Vatican Radio:
Question by french journalist from France2 (TV) : Your Holiness, among the many ailments that Africa suffers from, there is in particular the expansion of Aids. The position of the Catholic church on how to fight against it is often considered as unrealistic and inefficient. Will you treat this subject during the voyage? Most Holy Father, could you possibly answer this question in French?
Benedict XVI: You speak Italian well… As a matter of fact, I would say the opposite. I think that the reality more efficient, more present, stronger in the struggle against Aids is in fact the Catholic Church, with its movements, with its various realities. I am thinking of the Sant’Egidio Community which has done much – in a visible or invisible manner – for the struggle against Aids, of the Camillians, of so many others, of all the nuns who attend the sick… I would say that this problem of Aids will not be overcome simply with money. It (money) is necessary, but if there lacks the soul knowing how to utilise it, then it doesn’t help, one cannot overcome by distributing condoms ; on the contrary, this increases the problem. The solution has to be a double one: first, humanising sexuality, i.e. a spiritual and human renewal with a new manner of behaviour with others, and secondly, a true friendship especially for those who suffer, an availability, with sacrifices, with personal renunciations, in order to be with the suffering. All these are factors that help and carry in them true and visible progress. This is why I would say our double force of renewing the human being from inside, giving him a spiritual and human force for a just behaviour in his conduct towards his own body and that of others, and the capacity to suffer with the suffering, to be present in testing situations. This seems the right answer, and the Church is doing it, thus offering a contribution of utmost importance. Let us give thanks for all those who do it.
What passes for debate in most arenas these days is ad hominem attacks at best; physical and emotional bullying at worst. Add that to the functional illiteracy of most “religious” debaters and…well…you understand why I don’t bother.
Just listen to the populist, hot button drivel being spewed over the Pope’s condoms comments today…
In the first example, the defenders of humanity are all in a lather because the Pope said precisely what we expect the Pope to say on the subject of condoms. Condom use is a non-starter for the Roman Catholic Pontiff even when it comes to the subject of AIDS/HIV prevention. The Church makes it quite clear, abstinence and fidelity in a relationship are the only guaranteed ways of preventing AIDS, and pregnancy for that matter.
The outrage is out of control because the Pope followed his well worn script, because he told us exactly what he thinks and believes.Things would have been calmer or more agreeable if he had lied?
The bottom line is, despite some poor timing at times, B16 is right on the mark. We are deluding ourselves if we think that condoms are the real solution to AIDS in Africa… or for that matter anywhere. If the issue is that women are forced into sexual slavery and forced to have sex with infected men… well, the answer is not the condom, but it’s getting some sense into men to respect women and treat them as a gift from God…as we all are. The Pope is challinging us with a big picture vision of humanity… and people don’t want to be challenged to change. Just give me a quick fix.