It must be nice sitting up in a tower with white robes on completely removed from the reality that is life. Chalk this up to another reason why I consider myself to be a recovering Catholic:

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE ? 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 had never directly addressed condom use. He has said that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against AIDS. The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.

“You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde, Cameroon, where he will begin a seven-day pilgrimage on the continent. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

This kind of talk is irresponsible and morally reprehensible. 25 million people have died on the continent of Africa since the 80’s. To put that in perspective, Imagine the entire populations of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles were GONE. Entirely.

Now add 10 million more.

For the leader of the largest sect within the largest religion in the world to take such a morally depraved position in order not to surrender a strict and outdated dogma is unbelievable. His position does not only fly in the face of science (yet again), but KILLS PEOPLE. Condoms, in fact, are the best defense against sexually transmitted diseases. There’s no dispute here given the reality.

Sure abstinence is 100%. If everyone would stop driving automobiles, deaths from car crashes would immediately drop to 0 as well. That’s about how realistic it is to expect abstinence to work. Great theory, but in practice when people decide they want to get busy (and they will), not having a condom to use is life threatening.

But the Pope and other religious zealots want to pretend this is a realistic and morally correct way to respond to a pandemic that has claimed the lives of tens of millions of people. I have a feeling that God might just think this misses the point entirely.

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