Monday, March 30, 2009

Pope Benedict Blows AIDS Opportunity

So much for the papal outreach on AIDS in Africa.

While on a flight to Cameroon on Tuesday to begin a weeklong journey through Africa, Pope Benedict XVI said, "You can't resolve [the AIDS epidemic] with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem."

As a former director of an AIDS clinic, as a spokesman, as an activist, I am dumbfounded. He is just dumb. For the Pope to challenge the scientific truth that condoms prevent the spread of AIDS, especially to people who have yet to buy into his abstinence line is beyond comprehension.

He is a world leader with enormous influence sending a myopic message. He is showing just how out of touch the Church is.

The cartoonists had a field day. Ours is from the London Times, showing the Pope with a large condom hat pierced by a hatpin. As far as I am concerned, it could have been a dunce cap, and he should have been sent to the stool in the corner of the schoolroom.

Another cartoon showed Pope Benedict on a charger attacking a giant killer condom with his staff. Another had a large condom as the banana peel on his elegant Italian shoe. The Washington Post got heat for its March 21 cartoon showing the Pope in an AIDS ward blessing the sick because they did not use condoms.

Arriving in Africa, the home for so many afflicted with AIDS, the Pope could have made history. Well, he did, I suppose, but not the kind you want to write home to Mom about or see in history books years from now. It reminds me of Ronald Reagan never mentioning the word 'AIDS' in the first seven years of his administration. Total denial. Not good. Not healthy. Not smart.

No comments:

Post a Comment