Of all the things Pope Benedict XVI could have said on his first trip to Africa as pope, his condom condemnation was perhaps the least useful—or even the most harmful. And his remarks—saying that condoms are not the solution to Africa’s battle against HIV/AIDS—has caused quite a stir among global health advocates and others.
“You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” Benedict said of Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”
Here’s what Jon O’Brien, of Catholics for Choice, said in response:
“The pope will find that few Catholics and even fewer medical personnel agree with his stance. Several bishops in Africa, including especially Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg in South Africa, have been outspoken in their support of the use of condoms.”
O’Brien said condoms are “not a panacea,” but noted that they are “the best current method of HIV prevention for those who are sexually active and at risk. For the Catholic hierarchy to deny the role that condoms play in preventing the further spread of HIV is irresponsible and dangerous.”