On Tuesday (March 17) Pope Benedict made his first public comments about condom use while on a trip to Africa.
“(HIV/Aids) is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms which even aggravates the problems.”
Condoms aggravate the problem? If you’re confused about the logic of that one, consider that in 2003 a senior Vatican official claimed condoms had tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass, exposing thousands of people to risk.
The then head of the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, said: "The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom."
Now understand that the evidence is unambiguous and is in no way controversial that the proper use of condoms works very well in preventing transmission of the AIDS virus from infected to uninfected people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites “comprehensive and conclusive” evidence that latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are “highly effective” in preventing heterosexual transmission of the virus that causes AIDS. The most recent meta-analysis of the best studies, published by the respected Cochrane Collaboration, concluded that condoms can reduce the transmission of the AIDS virus by 80 percent.
I understand that the Catholic Church rejects the use of condoms as part of its overall teaching against artificial contraception. Senior Vatican officials have advocated fidelity in marriage and abstinence from premarital sex as key weapons in the fight against AIDS.
However, making demonstrably false claims about the use of condoms as one tool in the battle against AIDS – especially while visiting a continent where 22 million people are living with AIDS – is in itself immoral.
The Church most certainly has the right to make moral pronouncements but lying outright about the effectiveness of condoms is outrageous and leaves blood on the hands of the liar.
Who in this case is the Pope.