Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pope attacked over condoms

Update and action: the increasingly appalling Ruth Gledhill draws our attention gleefully to a cartoon by Peter Brookes of the Holy Father with condom on his head, which appeared in The Times. This is absolutely outrageous and people must complain. H-t Catholic Truth: thank you, Patricia!

You can go the Gledhill's article to post a comment; more importantly complain to the Press Complaints Commission here. The cartoon infringes section 12 (i) of the Code of Practice

The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability. 

However the Code has little to say about hate speech, since it is covered by the law of the land, including the 2007 Racial and Religious Hatred Act, which outlaws incitement to hatred, though not ridicule and insult. How these two principles are supposed to work together is anyone's guess.

Nevertheless the PCC is the obvious first place to go for redress, so please make the point that this cartoon is insulting to Catholics and denigrates their religion and beliefs. Just imagine how long it would be tolerated if it insulted the Chief Rabbi, an Iman, or a homosexual.

In the meatime 'Iosephus' on the Cornell Society has a very good piece on why condoms increase AIDS. (Anyone who has run out of sleeping pills can read about whether the Vatican Press Office's version of the Pope's remarks diverges from that of the press corps in a totally insignificant way, here. Damian Thompson is getting very excited about it.)

Comment: dog bites man, not for the first time. But the man will outlive the dog.

The Pope's crime is to point out, to journalists on the plane to Cameroon, that condoms can actually make AIDS epidemic worse. This is to deny a key article of liberal faith, but it is nevertheless obviously true. Just as the provision of contraception increases promiscuity in the West, so it does in Africa. More promiscuity means more infections - since condoms are far from 100% effective, and are not used 100% of the time. Simple, really.

The exact increase or decrease of the infection rate will depend on the ratio between the reduced chance of infection of each act of intercourse and the increased number of acts of intercourse. Depending on the exact numbers, condoms might paliate or aggravate the immediate problem. In either case, it is not exactly a sure-fire way of combatting AIDS. In the meantime, the underlying problem which give all venerial diseases their opportunity, promiscuity, is being increased, not decreased. Now that is just stupid. For more on condoms and AIDS, see here.

Here is what the Pope said (h-t Fr Ray Blake):

The question's premise was "The Catholic Church's position on the way to fight against AIDS is often considered unrealistic and ineffective," and the pope responded:

"I would say the opposite. I think that the reality that is most effective, the most present and the strongest in the fight against AIDS, is precisely that of the Catholic Church, with its programs and its diversity. I think of the Sant'Egidio Community, which does so much visibly and invisibly in the fight against AIDS ... and of all the sisters at the service of the sick.

"I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with money -- which is important, but if there is no soul, no people who know how to use it, (money) doesn't help.

"One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.

"The solution can only be a double one: first, a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; second, a true friendship even and especially with those who suffer, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices and to be with the suffering. And these are factors that help and that result in real and visible progress.

"Therefore I would say this is our double strength -- to renew the human being from the inside, to give him spiritual human strength for proper behavior regarding one's own body and toward the other person, and the capacity to suffer with the suffering. ... I think this is the proper response and the church is doing this, and so it offers a great and important contribution. I thank all those who are doing this."


Anonymous said...

Just posted my complaint, nice blog.

Sparky said...

This satirical article makes the point of how we allow attacks against the pope but not against Allah:

Catholics riot over Pope cartoon, burn cars, demand death of cartoonist

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen