Benedict XVI Condoms Explode Over Paris

March 26, 2009

The Daily Telegraph’s   Picture of the Day features a woman in Paris holding condoms stamped with a picture of a beaming Pope Benedict XVI.  The bold-lettered caption on the condom wrapper reads: "I SAID NO!"  (Copyright restrictions prohibit us from reproducing the photo here.  To view the photo,   click here .)  These condoms were distributed to mock the Pope’s recent rejection of condoms as a weapon against AIDS during his recent tour of HIV-ravaged Africa.

Although the photo is a source of amusement, the Pope’s comments surely are not.  During his visit to Cameroon last week, Benedict said that the distribution of condoms could endanger public health and that they are not the solution to the fight against AIDS. "   On the contrary, it increases the problem, " he blithely remarked.  The Roman Catholic Church has long objected to the use of condoms as part of its overall teaching against artificial contraception.

Of course it is not condoms, but Benedict’s comments and his church’s policies that endanger public health.  Sub-Saharan Africa has an estimated   22 million people infected with HIV .  If the Church were to implore people to practice safe sex, it might have a major impact on slowing the spread of a disease that has brought misery and death to millions.  But never mind that   condoms are among the least expensive and most effective ways of curbing the spread of the dreaded virus .  Empoying evidence-based public health programs that actually work would run counter to Benedict’s "culture of life" theology.  It seems that to promote life, we must embrace death.