Not only do condoms not limit the spread of AIDS in Africa, the Pope claims, but condom distribution “increases the problem.”
Apparently the reason for this is that condom distribution encourages sex, and some of those encouraged to have sex will either not use a condom or contract AIDS despite condom use.
Of course, that doesn’t explain the rise of AIDS prior to condom distribution. Obviously condom distribution was a response to the problem, not the cause of the problem.
I don’t know much about the spread of AIDS in Africa, but I get the idea that it largely has to do with sexual irresponsibility, rooted in mystical beliefs and primitive machismo. Time writes of a “wife… branded a whore when she asked her husband to use a condom, beaten silly and thrown into the streets.”
So let us grant that condoms are not anything like a comprehensive solution to the problem. Does the Pope seriously believe that Catholic abstinence will fare better?
What is needed is not cultural relativism that dares not criticize African cultural forces that contribute to AIDS (and many other ills), nor faith-based calls to forsake sex. Instead what is needed is a cultural movement that emphasizes reason and ethical views consonant with life on earth, including healthy sex.