Pope Benedict XVI said that we must humanize sexuality to reduce the spread of HIV. Catholic World Report posted interview excerpts released Saturday, in which the Pope used the example of a male prostitute to make his point about condoms and AIDS. Now the media is having a field day. Did the Pope really say that condoms are okay??
Humanization of sexuality
The book-length interview will be released Tuesday: Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times. When asked about the Church’s opposition to reducing AIDS with condoms, the Pope replied:
“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”
“She [the Church] of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”
For those who hate the Pope and/or the Catholic Church, they can simply take his words out of context and make it look like the Pope condones condoms, but only for hookers. The headline at gawker.com reads: Pope Cool With Condoms — as Long as You’re a Male Prostitute.
The Church “assists people up close and concretely”
What Pope Benedict actually pointed out is that simply passing out condoms is not sufficient to reduce AIDS. The Pope advocated a more humane treatment: “the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDs victims, especially children with AIDs.”
Who is helping?
Are some people more interested in fighting the Church and its leader, than fighting HIV? The interviewer himself, Peter Seewald pointed out how crucial Catholics have been in treating HIV patients: “Twenty-five percent of all AIDs victims around the world today are treated in Catholic facilities. In some countries, such as Lesotho, for example, the statistic is 40 percent.”
Online it looks like many people are more interested in fighting the Church and its leader than fighting HIV. It’s a lot easier to mock the Pope than to take care of HIV patients. And surely it’s more fun to criticize the Church than to join in the mission to treat HIV victims.
But I wonder how AIDS patients in Lesotho feel about the Church?