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Pope Wrong Again

17 March, 2009

The Catholic Church does not like birth control.  If a man gets his vas cut, cauterized, folded and stapled, he is sinning.  If a woman takes the pill, she is sinning.  If a teenage boy shows that he is not a pig by using a condom, he is sinning.  This is the churches position:  abstention, unless you are trying to create a baby (which brings up the question of whether abstention is birth control).  Because we should always take sexual advice from septuagenarian virgins wearing silly clothes.  Of course, when people with no experience in reproductive health jump in, bad things happen.

Two week ago, we learned of a 9-year-old girl in Brazil, pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather. Though there are strict restrictions on abortion in Brazil, doctors concluded that the girl’s immature hips made childbirth exceedingly dangerous. Catholic Church leaders unsuccessfully fought to force the girl to carry the baby to term and then have a cesarean. What’s more, as part of the debate, church leaders condemned a judge for following the law, lashed out at the doctors treating the victim, and even excommunicated the young girl’s distraught mother. (Quote from Steve Benen’s The Washington Monthly (because, quite frankly, I really couldn’t say it better)).

Now good old Pope Benedict has taken things even further.  He visited Africa (Cameroon) to show that the Catholic Church is right up there on the front lines fighting AIDS. 

First, before I get into Benny’s remarks, how about a couple of facts (remember, kids, faith means you can ignore facts):  22 million men, women and children in sub-Saharan Africa are HIV positive;  and condoms help prevent the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

(From the Associated Press):

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP)  (because they couldn’t all fit in the Popemobile) — Pope Benedict XVI says the distribution of condoms is not the answer in the fight against AIDS (Because something that actually stops the virus moving from one person to another couldn’t be the answer).

Benedict insisted that the church is in the forefront of the battle against (the prevention of) AIDS in Africa. He spoke Tuesday aboard the papal plane on his way to Africa, his first trip to the continent as pontiff.

Benedict said “you can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms.” He said that “on the contrary it increases the problem.”  (How in the Nine Billion Names of God could condoms increase the problem?)

The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of disease. (Conveniently ignoring that fact (there’s that pesky idea again) that people are animals, and the biological imperative is to breed, which is achieved by having sex.  How many times do we need to cover the fact that abstinence-only sex education does not reduce the likelyhood of sex.  It does, however, reduce the chances of safe sex.)

[ . . . .]

He says he wants to bring a message of hope to a continent suffering from poverty, disease and armed conflict. 

Hope for what?  more disease?  more poverty?  more conflict?  Overpopulation, limited resources, incompetent governments, minimal health care and non-existent infrastructure create disease, poverty and conflict.  AIDS orphans provide ready fodder for revolutionary and insurrectionary armies (in Congo, half the population is under 18 years of age) and the brothels serving the soldiers.  Removing (or, more likely, minimizing) the ravages of AIDS will allow the people to deal with the underlying problems. 

A bunch of old virgins holding tight to faith-based dogma and faith that human nature has no power will insure that AIDS will continue to ravage sub-Saharan Africa.  I know I’ve said this before, but faith-based solutions do not work!  Never have, never will.

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23 comments

  1. Hello
    Can anyone say ROMAN Catholic. It’s not Catholic It’s Roman Catholic. Roman as in Rome. Pope The peodif in the dress. Hides his boner when young boys are around.


  2. Dax: Good point. I should be more specific. After all, there is the Polish National Catholic Church. And there are most likely plenty more.

    Here’s a question — did it become the Avignon Catholic Church when the Papacy was held captive in France?

    Seriously. I figure that with the reference to the Pope, specifically, Pope Benedict, that people will know about which church I am talking. Feel free to comment on the substance of the post, but I can think of many things actually worth a rant.


  3. I can’t even say how much I hate anti-condom abstinance only whackos. It’s nigh unto accessory to murder in my opinion.


  4. Abstinence probably works fine if you’re the Pope – I mean, let’s face it, he’s no Brad Pitt, so not getting laid probably isn’t an issue for him. Have you ever noticed how the loudest voices against birth control seem belong to very unattractive people?


  5. I’m right with you on this one.


  6. The Lion shamelessly notes that he blogged, most viciously, on this matter today. The Pope and his beskirted minions should be jailed for promulgating this nonsense.


  7. Yet there’s no mention of the church condemming or excommunicating the stepfather. Nice to know where their priorities are.


  8. Craig: It’s the result of a faith-based worldview.

    Yunshui: And this isn’t really a birth-control issue, it’s a public health issue. Which makes it even worse.

    Joe: Thanks for stopping by. And thanks.

    Ric: Blogwhoring is allowed. This is, after all, a free speech zone. Just tell me how much you love Bocce, and all is good.

    Kate: Apparently what he did is immoral and illegal,but not enough of a sin to warrant church intervention.


  9. I’ve blogged about both these issues before (shameless blogwhoring) particularly the stupid anti-condom stance the catholic (Roman and otherwise, I’d wager) church has.

    The classic example is the ABC program that Uganda started, and which was highly successful in reducing HIV/AIDS.
    * A bstain
    * B e faithful
    * C ondomise

    Guess what? The Catholic church rolled into town (with backing from the Bush administration) and turned it into the AB program. Guess what? Uganda’s rate of HIV/AIDS increased.

    Additionally part of the reduction in HIV/AIDS was the education and empowerment of women. And we all know how much the catholic church likes empowering women (only marginally less than the Muslin faith).

    It could be alleged the Roman Catholic Church, headed by the Pope, has single-handedly been responsible for the deaths of thousands, if not millions, from HIV/AIDS.

    PS. I quite like Bocce, even have my own set of shiny balls.


  10. oops just noticed spelling mistake in previous comment.
    “the Muslin faith” should read “the Muslim faith”.


  11. Oz: See, the problem is that faith requires an absolutist worldview; one based upon all or nothing. Condoms would allow a little bit of gray.

    And empowerment of women? Next, you will want a female PM of England, a female Secretary of State in the US, and women actually, you know, making decisions. Can’t have that.


  12. I will only consider your opinions to be valid once you get the full quotation. You didn’t get the whole quote, Not at all. While at first glance the quotation makes the Pope seem like an idiot the full quotation puts him in a much better light. Follow any one of these links to read it.
    Here they are:

    http://www.nowpublic.com/health/france-criticises-popes-condom-comments

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=15403

    Now you can think what the heck you want about this. You don’t have to be Roman Catholic, you have your own freedom to choose what you are. I simply ask for people to do some simple research to get the whole story before jumping to desired conclusions.

    Also, to ozatheist, the Roman Catholic Church is internationally recognized for being the most involved organization in the battle against AIDS through AIDS education and in training medics to treat the virus.

    Finally, the stepmother would be de-excommunicated upon a valid confession. The reason why the mother was excommunicated and not the stepfather is because, in the Church’s view, infanticide (abortion) is considered worse than rape (in other words, ending a completely innocent life is worse than severely damaging it).

    Learn to think for yourself rather than believing everything people, the media or the church feeds you. Actual “free thinkers” actively search for truth.


  13. I must correct myself.
    Governments are the most involved in the AIDS battle, they contribute 44% (in terms of money). The Roman Catholic church is the second (26.7%), with non religious NGOs contributing 18.3% and other religious NGOs contributing 11%.


  14. I’m not trying to bash your view (although I vehemently disagree). I just want to get the whole story out before people jump to foregone conclusions.


  15. Freethinker: Have read the quote referenced. The Pope is still wrong. The entire quote, if anything, reinforces my position. Spirituality, like faith, means ignoring reality and hoping that something will work. Condoms are an effective tool in helping to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Actively working to prevent the use of condoms increases the transmission of sexually transmitted disease.

    I have spent my professional life as a public historian. Research is a major part of my life. Had the AP article differed significantly from the full text, I would have used the full text. The AP did not pull a Fox News, quoting out of context in order to change the meaning.

    I do find it odd that destroying the innocent little girls life by raping her is considered a minor sin.

    As to your second comment, bullshit. The amount of money spent to combat a problem is only part of the equation. The United States has spent a trillion dollars fighting ‘terrorism’ in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past seven years. Has throwing money at the problem helped? or made it worse?

    The Catholic Church contributes money with a big string attached — the recieving entity must subscribe to the church’s faith-based worldview which, in the case of AIDS, means abandoning the barrier method of prophylaxis.

    Oddly, the church has no problem with barrier prophylaxis in any other human health situation: surgery with gloves, masks and sterilized instruments. It is only when it involves another natural disease transimission vector that the church suddenly decides it won’t work.

    I laud some of the work the Catholic Church has done over the years, especially helping the poor. However the blind resistence to condoms in all situations has helped to increase infection rates.

    Thank you for stopping by. I did check out the ‘whole story’ and decided that the AP article had acurately quoted the parts of the Popes speech that were most important.

    And I do seek truth. With includes an appreciation for reality.


  16. I just read the full statement. Yeah, profound, deep, and meaningful, and practical. Uh huh. It is better described as a bunch of meaningless gobbledygook into which you can read whatever meaning you want if you tend to agree with the old fool. Millions are dead, millions are dying, and millions are getting infected and this dotty old man and his councils of equally dotty old men use the false authority of their make-believe god to deny people the single most effective weapon that would save millions of lives. What can you expect from a group that took four hundred years to accept Galileo’s science? Do the world a favor and wall up the freaking Vatican with those clowns inside it, cut the phone lines, cut the cable, and hell, cut off their food and water so the world can get on to dealing in the reality of the problems we face without the interference of these sick, ignorant assholes.

    There is only one bottom line. Condoms prevent infection and all that follows it. Catholic policies encourage infection and all that follows it.

    The Church favors suffering, misery, and death, in fact encourages it. Deranged Pope Jonny Ratz and friends are wrong, their behavior is immoral and should be considered criminal.


  17. “Just tell me how much you love Bocce, and all is good.”

    I will allow that bocce is almost as good as Petanque. Surely even you can recognize the superiority of steel over plastic. I mean, jeez, look at humanity’s progress. First the Age of Wood, then the Age of Stone, then the Age of Plastic, followed by all the Ages of Metal, with steel reigning supreme. You can’t fight progress, Grasshopper.


  18. Ric: Condom use results in an 80% decrease in the infection rate. I guess 4 out of 5 ain’t good enough. Or maybe if your Bible says that pi=3, then 4/5 = 0.

    And you have your ages wrong (which at your age is not all that surprising): wood, old stone, new stone, bronze, iron, steel, plastic, silicon. Which explains why bronze-age hookers never had triple Ds.


  19. I’m certain Plastic came either pre-Metal or in Early Metal. Otherwise how could Herodotus stretch the truth so much? Or maybe that was the Age of Taffy – but taffy is plastic in its own way, further proving my contention. Why are you trying to confuse me with facts? You youngsters can be so cruel!

    Back on earth, does the 80% figure refer to correct condom use (following proper education in their use) or refer to general use no matter previous condom education? Or does it refer to lab-tested ability of condoms to stop viral transmission?


  20. It is a real world figure. I confess to grabbing it from PZMyers post on the same subject. He’d be the one to ask.

    The point I was making is that, although it is not 100% effective, it does reduce transmission rates.


  21. I got that. I think what I was getting at is that if it’s real world then it may be fair to assume that some part of the 20% failure rate may be mitigated by education/training (how clinical!) and also by gagging or removing Popish and Bushish elements that denigrate condom use.


  22. If the 20% includes interference from self-ordained morality police, that’s even better than I thought.


  23. Wow, fantastic blog format! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you make running a blog glance easy. The overall glance of your website is great, as smartly the content!



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