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Faith, Hope And Excessive Despair

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 Faith, Hope And Excessive Despair

A very emotive, ethical and for some a very personal article by the BBC (19 03 09) with regards to Pope Benedict’s belief system surrounding the use of birth control. He has argued that the use of condoms “could endanger public health and increase the problem of HIV/Aids.”

In addition, he states, that the distribution of condoms in effect aggravates the already existing problem. He suggests rather than containing the virus, the problem would be made worse.

There is clearly a conflict of interest. There is no doubt from an individual perspective that the Pope is trying to maintain a sense of structure and guidance to a global audience, however, from that point of view there appears to be no concept towards compromise as this would be seen as the process of destruction of the leadership that is offered.

Both France and Germany have argued that condoms are essential in the prevention of disease, and to withhold family planning from the poorest of the poor, those who really need to be targeted from a health and educational stance is morally and ethically wrong.

Indeed the Roman Catholic Church indicate that marital fidelity and sexual abstinence are the best way to prevent the spread of HIV. In an ideal world, this concept may very well be acceptable. Notwithstanding the reality is the world at present is in meltdown and the inequalities that do exist are very damning on a global society as a whole.

The facts are that in excess of 22million people are infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, according to UN figures for 2007, this equates to two-thirds of the global total.

Moreover, Eric Chevallier,the French foreign ministry spokesman said; “While it is not up to us to pass judgement on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life.”

Ulla Schmidt, German Health Minister and Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, the Development Minister said jointly, “Condoms save lives, in Europe as well as on other continents.

“Modern assistance to the developing world today must make access to family planning available to the poorest of the poor - especially the use of condoms.

“Anything else would be irresponsible.”

Dutch Development Minister Bert Koenders said it was “extremely harmful and very serious” that the Pope was “forbidding people from protecting themselves”.

“There is an enormous stigma surrounding the subject of Aids and Aids sufferers face serious discrimination,” he added.

“The Pope is making matters worse.”

On the issues of HIV/Aids, the Pope says, a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem”.

Futhermore he argues that the solution lays in a “spiritual and human awakening” and “friendship for those who suffer”.

According to campaigners who argue that condoms are one of the few methods proven to stop the spread of HIV.

Rebecca Hodes, of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa, said the Pope’s “opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans”.

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