Outrage Over Pope’s Condom Comments

Last night, The Daily Show responded in its own, special way to the Pope’s misguided comment that condoms actually increase the problem of AIDS in Africa:

Stewart is right. Obviously the Pope’s comments have outraged many. Our own Kathleen Reeves wrote a great post here.

What is the Pope’s authority on this issue, other than a supposed moral one? Even in a moral case, it’s a dubious stance: how can you attack condom use under the guise of promoting a "culture of life" when condoms are proven to be effective at helping prevent the spread of H.I.V. and AIDS, and consequently saving lives? It’s contradictory, with the Pope ignoring the complexities inherent in parsing Catholic morality (with its stance against contraceptives)with the grim realities in Africa (with 7,400 new infections reported daily). Instead he gives an outrageous and easy answer to the problem.

The Pope also has no right to dispute scientific evidence, especially when the stakes are so high. His comments ring of the disastrous rhetoric of the past decade, perpetuating a culture of rigid idealism that refuses to acknowledge realities that may dispute the ideology. We can’t ignore evidence we don’t want to believe is true in order to support what we do believe to be true.

According to a study by The Cochrane Collaboration (full text here), "consistent use of condoms results in 80% reduction in H.I.V. incidence."

So are condoms 100% perfect in preventing the spread of H.I.V.? No. But do condoms make the AIDS epidemic worse? Definitively, no.

I wonder if, given the outrage, the Pope might apologize for his statement. He’s spreading a dangerous, misinformed opinion.

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  • invalid-0

    To fight against the use of condoms is the fight against common sense. To the extent that people already engage in sexual activitices, condoms can hardly be seeen as exascerbating the problem. I think the real issue is to teach responsible sexual behavior. Preaching abstinence is an anachronism that’s out of touch with reality. You can find more of this perspective at: http://www.ricoexplainsitall.com/politcs-economy/2009/3/20/sex-and-the-vatican-city.html

  • paul-bradford

    I wonder how many of you have heard of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini? You’ve got to ask yourself, "Why would someone with those opinions choose, not only to remain in the Church, but to rise to the level of Cardinal?"


    There are good things about being a Catholic that make it worthwhile to put up with the bad things about being a Catholic.  Don’t forget, the Church strives to be universal. That means we take everybody. That means, if you’re in, you have to figure out a way to put up with everybody.



    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • invalid-0

    The Pope is only trying to force his belief system on africa. I wrote about it myself in my blog:


    check it out if you want too :)

  • http://www.diseases-info.net invalid-0

    Joe you wright an aggressive article but I have to agree to you totally! The attitude of the pope is irresponsible and a person like him who is such a big authority for millions of people should reconsider this thoughts. It seams that the pope is trying to save “possible life” on the cost of existing life – this is wrong and can not be! By the way I read once that the Vatican is the owner of a condom factory but I din´t verified this.