When most feuds last for decades and even centuries, I find it hard to believe that fresh news is better news. So I am usually content to read the morning paper in the evening or the next morning at breakfast. So what sparked my interest in Friday’s paper on Saturday morning?
Unprecedented pontiff bashing has taken hold in the press – prompted by Pope Benedict XVI’s criticism of the use of condoms in anti-AIDS programs, made on his arrival Tuesday for a weeklong tour of Africa.
“This is one of the most horrifically ignorant statements made by a world leader since former President George W. Bush’s promise to ‘smoke ’em out’ in reference to terrorist leaders including Osama bin Laden,” said Bonnie Erbe, a PBS host and columnist. (from here)
Curiously, this Washington Times article never stated exactly what the Pope said. After a little research I determined that all that mattered is that Pope does not support the sacred condom as the sanctified solution to the AIDS virus. Instead, the Pope believes self restraint is necessary.
What did the Pope say? The Vatican did not publish the transcript of the Pope’s remarks in English (see here, via the UK Telegraph here). Fortunately, the Catholic News Service (CNS) did provide a transcript (here) of the Pope’s remarks. The Pope’s remarks came when he answered the questions of journalists aboard a flight to Cameroon. Here is the pertinent section of the CNS article.
Lest it be taken out of context, here is the exchange that took place on the pope’s plane. The question’s premise was “The Catholic Church’s position on the way to fight against AIDS is often considered unrealistic and ineffective,” and the pope responded:
“I would say the opposite. I think that the reality that is most effective, the most present and the strongest in the fight against AIDS, is precisely that of the Catholic Church, with its programs and its diversity. I think of the Sant’Egidio Community, which does so much visibly and invisibly in the fight against AIDS … and of all the sisters at the service of the sick.
“I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with money — which is important, but if there is no soul, no people who know how to use it, (money) doesn’t help.
“One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.
“The solution can only be a double one: first, a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; second, a true friendship even and especially with those who suffer, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices and to be with the suffering. And these are factors that help and that result in real and visible progress.
“Therefore I would say this is our double strength — to renew the human being from the inside, to give him spiritual human strength for proper behavior regarding one’s own body and toward the other person, and the capacity to suffer with the suffering. … I think this is the proper response and the church is doing this, and so it offers a great and important contribution. I thank all those who are doing this.” (from here)
Is it not remarkable that there is such an ideological edge to condom use that even these remarks sparked outrage?
Cartoons And Posters
In the first row below, we have three cartoons. In the second we have a couple of posters. These cartoons seem to be largely representative of what is available on the Internet. From conventional wisdom, it seems that quite a few cartoonists have learned that the Pope is an idiot. Yet the more condoms we pour into Africa, the more people die.
It may make sense for a married man and woman — two mature adults — to use a condom for birth control. What I seriously doubt is that it makes sense to use a condom to protect children and relative strangers from each other. Why would anyone who loves their child choose to teach their child to depend upon the small, thin membrane of a condom to protect themselves from a few moments of frivolous sex? Is it that difficult to understand that love and the acceptance of responsibility must come before sex?
If you don’t believe how one-sided the cartoons actually are, check out this list from The Cartoonist Group.