Was the Pope Taken Out of Context on Condoms Increasing the AIDS epidemic?

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Here is what the Pope said yesterday in his visit to Africa,

“The problem cannot be overcome by distributing condoms. It only increases the problem,”

The main stream media has taken this to mean that the Pope somehow believes that the use of condoms makes AIDS worse or results in more people having AIDS. It makes the Pope out to look uninformed and completely out of touch. But here is more of what he had to say,

“It is of great concern that the fabric of African life, its very source of hope and stability, is threatened by divorce, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking, and a contraception mentality…”

From what I can tell the problem he is talking about here is not just AIDS. He is talking about a mindset. He is talking about the sin problem and the worldview problem of what is the root behind the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In other words, condoms are only a “cover up” for the real problem. It is only a symptom solution. If we could touch people’s hearts and get them to see life from a Christ-like point of view then the AIDS epidemic would die out. Maybe I am misreading him here but that seems to be the message he was trying to get across rather than saying that using condoms gives more people AIDS.

0 Responses

  1. You are right Matt. The Pope is referencing a greater problem but who wants to admitt to that? Such an admition would require some reconsideration of moral/ethics.

    Grace and peace,


  2. I was wondering about that headline too! I just hadn’t had the time to lookup the context of that quote.

    A couple years ago, a wise teacher taught me: All meaning is context dependent.

    So true.

  3. I just watched an interview on Fox News in which a gay rights activist was asked, “Would you have sex with someone willfully if you knew they had HIV and the only thing protecting you was a thin piece of rubber?”

    He hesitated for a moment, then said, “Yes, I probably would … in fact I have been with a couple of people who had HIV and thank God I had an education about this stuff.”

    My point is this: you can’t fix stupid when stupid doesn’t want to be fixed.

  4. Well, even on the surface, without getting into the underlying messages, what the pope was saying was true. Distributing condoms will not reduce the spread of the HIV virus because the virus is smaller than the pores in the condom. So even with a condom, HIV can and will be spread. This leaves the people with a false sense of security, which will facilitate the spread of the virus because people are under the pretense that they cannot contract it.

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