Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pope. The Soap Opera.

By Issouf Sanogo, AFP/Getty Images

It's hard not so see Pope Benedict's recent attempts to stuff both of his Prada-shod feet in his mouth as anything but soap opera. He would be excellent mental dissection material for a good satirist, except for the fact that what he says and does can kill people. Every word that manages to get out of his mouth past those Pradas becomes a rule for some Catholic person somewhere, a bullet which can kill.

So now this excellent Pope tells us that condoms are not the answer for Africa dying of AIDS. It's like saying that surgery is not the answer for cancer. Sigh:

Pope Benedict XVI said on his way to Africa Tuesday that condoms were not the answer in the continent's fight against HIV, his first explicit statement on an issue that has divided even clergy working with AIDS patients.


Benedict said that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against AIDS.

"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."

The pope said that a responsible and moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease.

About 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, according to UNAIDS. In 2007, three-quarters of all AIDS deaths worldwide were there, as well as two-thirds of all people living with HIV.

Rebecca Hodes with the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa said if the pope is serious about preventing new HIV infections, he will focus on promoting wide access to condoms and spreading information on how best to use them.

"Instead, his opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans," said Hodes, director of policy, communication and research for the action campaign.

While she said the pope is correct that condoms are not the sole solution to Africa's AIDS epidemic, she said they are one of the very few HIV prevention mechanisms proven to work.

Deep under all those feminine layers of frockery lies Benedict's heart, I suspect. Wonder what's there? One guess:

Why does the Church persist in such a manifestly immoral doctrine? One suspects that it must be the usual twisted thinking about sex and women. The Church's opposition to birth control is largely an outgrowth of its all-male composition and those males' attempts to degrade women's physical powers by asserting that women and the intercourse into which they supposedly tempt men are necessary evils ("It is well for a man not to touch a woman," Paul instructed the Christians of Corinth), the only purpose of which is procreation.

Misogyny may not be "the Church's one foundation," but it is a major part of the base on which it was constructed.