Pope’s opposition to condoms hinders fight against AIDS
Catholic countries in Africa are among the worst affected by AIDS, yet the Pope won’t budge on his church’s opposition condoms, still the best prevention against the spread of AIDS.
Writing for Slate after Francis yesterday completed a five-day visit to Africa, Sean Illing pointed out that the three countries the Pope visited – the Central African Republic (CAR), Uganda and Kenya – are all “heavily Catholic” and that CAR “has some of the highest HIV infection rates on the planet”.
The numbers, writes Illings are “staggering”.
In Kenya, something like 1,400,000 people are living with HIV – roughly 6 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 49. And the rate of infection is significantly higher among young women. In Uganda, the numbers are worse, with close to 8 percent of the same population living with HIV. In Zambia, 13.5 percent of the adult population was identified as HIV-positive as far back as 2009. And the statistics are similarly awful in many other countries in the region.
Shamefully, the Catholic Church has refused to revise its regressive social policies in the face of this crisis. The church continues to serve itself, however, spreading its message and its influence wherever it can, but the enormous suffering wrought by its immoral preachments are not sufficient to provoke change it seems.
Religions are bundles of ideas and superstitions. Some of these ideas are false but useful, many more are false and dangerous. When the dangerous ideas are codified in official doctrines and institutions, they become positively corrosive. And the result is usually needless human suffering.
Perhaps the most glaring example of this can be seen today in Central Africa, where the Catholic Church continues to preach the sinfulness of condom use. Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing a devastating HIV and AIDs epidemic, and Catholic prohibitions on contraception are quite literally killing people.
Pope Francis has endeared himself to many on the Left. He’s spoken courageously about the ethics of climate change and he’s said some encouraging – and progressive – things about LGBT people. But this is one issue where he has remained suspiciously silent, and he should be condemned repeatedly for it.