Every once in a while there is a person that makes me wonder if they are seriously just waking up in the morning a thinking to themselves 'hmmmm, how can i best aggravate volatile situations, wreak havoc on the world and generally behave like a massive ass?' I'm not talking about those people who consider it some sort of aristotelian duty to annoy all they come across (ahem, Dad). I'm talking about a person who seems to want to murder basic decency.
For me, today, that person is Pope Benedict XVI. I know he probably doesn't really look at himself in the mirror thinking 'what fantastic damage we've done today Benny, mwahahahaha!' But you have to wonder when he makes public proclamations like: condoms aggravate the spread of AIDS in Africa.
I know that this old news for a lot of you. I suppose my own, somewhat heretical Catholic education gave me a little extra patience so far as the Catholic church is concerned. At Benedict's somewhat surrealist assertions about the birth control pill, I merely shook my head. I laughed when I heard about the questionable comments made about washing machines on Women's Day, a day that is meant to bolster and celebrate women. But this most recent comment is what did it for me, excuse me while I go get blue in the face.
When influential people say things like this, it is no laughing matter. This is crossing that line into words that get people hurt. The papal mouth moves, people die. Consenting adult fornicators aren't the only victims in this situation, what about all the children potentially conceived by HIV positive adults who choose not to wear a condom? Although many children born to HIV positive parents escape infection themselves, their best possible scenario is that of being born into a family ravaged by the disease. Children not born with the virus are still at high risk of infection from breastfeeding. I thought the Vatican was all about protecting innocent fetuses and potential fetuses.
But lets not be too reactionary, according to Times Online , the Vatican has been backtracking. Apparently 'he had not said that reliance on condoms risked aggravating the problem, as the amended version had it, but rather that it even aggravated it or, as some media translated the word, increased it.' Oh, well I guess in that case its just fine. It doesn't aggravate it, it just increases it.
For the sake of argument, lets ignore the incredibly naive notion that holding back condoms will keep people from screwing. Lets also just accept for a moment that sex is meant to be between married heteros only. That said, dosen't a married couple where one party is or maybe infected deserve to have safer sex? Afterall, the rhythm method doesn't prevent AIDS. I feel that even those taking the most conservative stances on the roles of sex and celibacy in society should be horrified at the Pope's statments. The priority should be to keep people alive before you can save thier souls.
image from Parlour Magazine