Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Holy See (And what he doesn't see)

As you may (or may not) have heard, the Pope is currently on a tour of Africa and has followed in his precursor's steps by confirming that the Catholic church is against the use of condoms - and that, in fact, condoms are contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Let me say a couple things. The Pope is absolutely correct when he says the only sure-fire way to stop HIV/AIDS is abstinence. He is also 100% correct when he says that condoms alone will not stop the tide of HIV/AIDS.

But there are far more things that he is simply turning a blind eye to. The first and most important is this: Abstinence is a good idea but it is simply not reality for most people. The goal of faith communities should be to engage with the real world. Caedmon's Call (on an old old album) had the lyrics, "How can I preserve and light the way for a world I can't admit I'm in?" People are having sex with multiple partners, Catholics are having sex with multiple partners - heck, even some priests are having sex with multiple partners. That doesn't mean it is right, but it is most certainly reality. For those who preach abstinence as the only way to attack HIV/AIDS, they are closing their eyes to reality.

I don't believe condoms are the answer to HIV/AIDS. I don't believe there is one answer. We must piece together many prongs of attack of which condoms is one that has proven to work in some situations. There has been tons of work with condoms in Africa and despite some serious deficiencies, the work has certainly helped people stay HIV/AIDS free. For someone with the clout of the Pope (or the President) to come out and say condoms are a sin seriously hampers the good work that is going on in Africa with condoms. The Pope has, by what he said, most certainly caused someone in Africa, this minute, to be infected with HIV - someone who might have used a condom except that the Pope told him on the radio that it was wrong.

It frustrates me to no end when I hear respected leaders spout off about what is right or wrong for people in Africa - especially when what they say is in direct opposition to the facts. It makes me even more upset when these leaders use God to gain currency for their ideas.

At the bottom of the CBC article there is space for people to comment. The highest rated comment on this article was, "Organized religion is the worst thing to happen to God." I clicked, Agree.


Jen said...

I'd be clicking "agree" too.

The Renegade Librarian said...

Well said, my friend, well said. I really could not agree with you more and I think you convincingly and eloquently put forth a really good argument!