Here’s a remarkable story about the Holy Father’s trip in Cameroon written by John Allen of the NCR. In the article he captures the discrepency between the West’s fixation with the condom issue in Africa and what the people on the ground are hearing. B16 is challenging the people to stand up for human rights. Allen reports that for many of us, we tend to see African nations as problems to be solved rather than as colleagues.
For Allen it’s like two different perspectives on the same trip:
In the U.S. and many other parts of the world, coverage has been “all condoms, all the time,” triggered by comments from Benedict aboard the papal plane to the effect that condoms aren’t the right way to fight AIDS. In Africa, meanwhile, the trip has been a hit, beginning with Benedict’s dramatic insistence that Christians must never be silent in the face of “corruption and abuses of power,” and extending through a remarkable meeting with African Muslims in which the pope said more clearly and succinctly what he wanted to say three years ago in his infamous Regensburg address, and without the gratuitous quotation from a Byzantine emperor.
And of course, we can’t think of Cameroon without remembering the good Cardinal Leger, Archbishop of Montreal who left it all behind to work with lepers in Cameroon.