Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Benedict XVI and Africa

Now, normally I wouldn't recommend reading anything remotely connected with National Catholic Reporter. However, John Allen usually has some insightful nuggets, and a recent article is no exception. Here's an excerpt:

"He [Benedict XVI] did no more than repeat church teaching on contraception, as well as the nearly unanimous view of every African bishop I've ever interviewed: that condoms give their people a false sense of invulnerability, thereby encouraging risky sexual behavior. That may be debatable, but one can hardly fault the pope for taking his cues from the bishops on the ground. (Ironically, popes usually get in trouble precisely for not listening to local bishops.)"


If you want to read the entire article, here you go.

One thought on the media frenzy following Benedict's remarks on AIDS and condoms. Let's start at ground zero. We're trying to eradicate AIDS. AIDS is passed on, primarily but not exclusively, by sex. The more often one infected with AIDS has sex -- and exponentially, the more sexual partners one has -- the greater number of people are infected. So the obvious remedies are to reduce sexual partners or even stop having sex, period (abstinence). Now, why do neither of these options even get much coverage? Because we have condoms. So the remedy proposed by the secular world is to distribute condoms to as many people as possible. Think about what they're proposing as the solution to the problem: you can have your cake (not spread AIDS) and eat it, too (have sex when you want), except for that nasty little fact that x% of the time condoms don't prevent someone from transmitting AIDS. So keep having sex -- you'll be infecting many fewer people than if you didn't use a condom, so you can feel good about doing your part in stopping the spread of AIDS.

Abstinence = absolutely no chance of spreading AIDS through sexual activity.
Condoms = some chance of spreading AIDS through sexual activity.

And the secular world chooses the latter why? Because "those people aren't going to give up sex, so we have to do the next best thing." These "people" who are infected with AIDS and are sexually active are "problems" that must be solved by shipping them condoms; this doesn't change the culture of sexual promiscuity, it just reduces the horrible consequences while allowing and indeed feeding the cause of these horrible consequences. It's a bandaid, an intrinsically and necessarily temporary stopgap.

But, the secular world chooses it because it's much easier than educating these people as humans so that they lead a better way of life, even a way of self-sacrifice for the sake of their neighbor, one that cuts at the core of the culture of sexual promiscuity and thereby eradicates the very cause of the problem at hand.

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