Wednesday, March 18, 2009
In his first full day in Africa as Pope, Benedict XVI continues in his stance against condoms (the Johnnies of the piece) as a way to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic ravaging the continent. He said he'd come with a 'message of hope' but where is the hope for the 22 million across Africa who are already affected, or their wives and families.
The Catholic Church is adamant that education of abstinence and family life is the way to go. He claimed that chastity outside marriage and fidelity within it had proved to be "the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and Aids". The problem is that in Africa a lot of the spread of the disease has been within marriage where one of the partners (normally the male) has not held their marriage vows. There have been peaks at times of the increase of the infection amongst pregnant women. And some countries have a greater than 15% presence of the infection amongst it's adult population. It is not so much a case of need to save oneself as being uncertain even if you did that you'd be safe.
The fact that as the church would like to point out the spread in many countries has stabilised at around 20% is not because of a new found fidelity but because the rate of new infections and deaths is in a morbid state of equilibrium. The problem is also that 2 million of those infected in Africa have been infected since birth or from breast feeding from their infected mother. There is a generation that will be growing up with the disease.
Of course the Church will want to spread a moral message but is not giving people the chance to life a first and foremost an abomination, especially as there is a easy chance to help. Yeah sure supplying condoms isn't the whole answer as there is education needed that using one is a selfless act, but one that could help defend each participants health. But to outright deny them because to quote Python 'every sperm is precious' yet doing all they can to help those already with life is hypocrisy of the highest magnitude and one that the Church has yet to be brought to account over.