The Pope's comments on condoms in Africa

Since the press didn't publish the Pope's entire response to the condom question, It might be useful to publish the entire answer. I don't even think I need to explain it, the Pope's answer speaks for itself, which is why they didn't publish the entire answer.

The Washington Post and Miami Herald printed an opinion piece by Edward C. Green PhD, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

In 2003, Norman Hearst and Sanny Chen of the University of California conducted a condom effectiveness study for the U.N.'s AIDS program and found no evidence of condoms working as a primary measure in HIV-prevention in Africa. UNAIDS quietly disowned the study. Since then, major articles in other peer-reviewed journals such as the Lancet, Science and BMJ have confirmed that condoms have not worked as an intervention in the population-wide epidemics of Africa.... In a 2008 article in Science called Reassessing HIV prevention, 10 AIDS experts concluded that ``consistent condom use has not reached a sufficiently high level, even after many years of widespread and often aggressive promotion, to produce a measurable slowing of new infections in the generalized epidemics of sub-Saharan Africa...One reason [for the failure of condoms] is ''risk compensation.'' That is, when people think they're made safe by using condoms at least some of the time, they actually engage in riskier sex.''

Here's what the Pope said. A question was asked by a journalist from one of France’s state TVs:

“Holy Father, among the many evils that affect Africa there is also the particular problem of the spread of AIDS. The position of the Catholic Church for fighting this evil is frequently considered unrealistic and ineffective. Will you address this issue during your trip?”

And the Pope responded:

‘I would say the opposite. It is my belief that the most effective presence on the front in the battle against HIV/AIDS is precisely the Catholic Church and her institutions. I think of the Community of Saint Egidio, which does so much, visibly and invisibly to fight AIDS, of the Camillians, of all the nuns that are at the service of the sick.

‘I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, they increase the problem"

‘The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanization of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with those who are suffering, a readiness - even through personal sacrifice - to be present with those who suffer.

‘And these are the factors that help and bring visible progress. Therefore, I would say that our double effort is to renew the human person internally, to give spiritual and human strength to a way of behaving that is just towards our own body and the other person’s body; and this capacity of suffering with those who suffer, to remain present in trying situations.

‘I believe that this is the first response [to AIDS] and that this is what the Church does, and thus, she offers a great and important contribution. And we are grateful to those that do this.’ (End of Pope’s answer)

No media seemed to provide the full quote.

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