Jesuit Father Michael Czerny writes , debunking the 'outrage' of the media and 'Culture of Death' advocates, concerning Pope Benedict's recent statements in Africa
...Therefore at the public level, an aggressive condoms policy ‘increases the problem’ as it deflects attention, credibility and resources from more effective strategies like abstinence and fidelity – or in secular language, the postponement of sexual debut and a reduction in the proportion of men and women reporting multiple sexual partners. Abstinence and fidelity win little public support in dominant Western discourse, but they are vindicated by solid scientific research and are increasingly included, even favoured, in national AIDS strategies in Africa.
The promotion of condoms as the strategy for reducing HIV infection in a general population is based on statistical probability and intuitive plausibility. It enjoys considerable credibility in the Western media and among Western opinion makers. What it lacks is scientific support.
Some specialists in the prevention of HIV assume that, since vast numbers of people do not know whether or not they are infected, condom use should be automatic, mandatory and universal. Yet 95% of Africans between 15 and 49 years of age are not infected (UNAIDS 2007). Knowing your status is a crucial step towards taking responsibility for your actions. Several Africans have told me that once they tested positive, they made a firm option for abstinence, rather than risk infecting someone else.
Thus, the Bishops of Kenya:
"Even if HIV did not make pre-marital sex, fornication, adultery, abuse of minors and rape so terribly dangerous, they would still be wrong and always have been. It is not the risk of HIV or the sufferings of AIDS, which make sexual licence immoral; these are violations of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments which are sinful, and today in Kenya surely the worst of their many destructive consequences is HIV and AIDS. The Church does not teach a different sexual morality, when or where AIDS poses no danger. But this teaching is not easy for ‘the world’ including the media to understand, much less accept."
The fact is that culture counts. A condom is more than a piece of latex; it also makes a statement about the meaning of life. While in Europe and North America the idea is quite acceptable (although not to all), in Africa fertility is prized and the condom seems foreign and strange, and the values it embodies alien. A Jesuit in South Africa wrote to me, ‘Most people here think that “the Pope and condoms” is a side-show, stoked up by the media, and not an issue on which we want to spill more ink or destroy more forest.’
So when Benedict XVI affirmed that ‘the distribution of prophylactics … increase[s] the problem,’ it was not a casual remark or a gaffe; he had good grounds for saying so....
Its definitely worth reading the whole article.
Too bad that most of the people expounding on this issue cannot be bothered to find, or are so committed to their 'agenda' that they are totally unwilling to accept the truth. For most of these people, its not at all about saving African lives. Its all about protecting the 'apologetics' of their own lifestyles.
How self-centered, selfish and 'western' is that!