The Pope is taking a lot of heat for his idiotic comments that condoms actually make the problem of AIDS in Africa worse. An AFP report noted,
Pope Benedict XVI sparked global condemnation with his comments as he began his first visit to Africa as pontiff on Tuesday
Benedict said on the plane taking him to Cameroon that AIDS “cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.”
Reuters had a report on Vatican efforts to defend the Pope’s comments. The basic claim seems to be that even if condoms decrease the risk of spreading AIDS by some percentage, that they increase the risk by encouraging more sexually risky behavior to begin with.
Yes, the Roman Catholic Church is essentially claiming that without the availability of condoms, people would not be engaging in risky sexual behaviors. This seems a lot like the idiotic argument used against the HPV vaccine. Yeah, before there were effective ways of preventing certain sexually transmitted diseases, nobody ever engaged in risky behaviors.
Apparently, if you aren’t risking death every time you have sex, the terrorists have won!
The Catholic Church is apparently a bit unhappy over this sculpture currently being displayed in an Italian museum that depicts a green frog being crucified while it holds a beer mug in one hand and an egg in the other.
The sculpture, Zuerst die Fuess is by the late German sculptor Martin Kippenberger. The Vatican wrote a letter in Pope Benedict’s name supporting efforts by Italian politician Franz Pahl to have the sculpture removed from the state-supported museum where it is being displayed. In portions of the letter released by Pahl, the Vatican complains that the sculpture “wounds the religious sentiments of so many people who see in the cross the symbol of God’s love.”
According to the Associated Press, Kippenberger apparently considered the sculpture “a self-portrait illustrating human angst.” Um, yeah, why else would the frog be holding an egg in one hand?
On the one hand, it is always a bit strange to see people who allegedly have the Supreme Creator of all things brought low by something as ridiculous as a frog on a stick (or whatever the allegedly blasephemous item of the day is).
On the other hand, in Western societies generally the Vatican’s letter writing is about the limit of its power to actually remove the offending item. This was not always the case, and, of course, in many parts of the world a similar item — say portraying Mohammed as a green frog — would likely end up with museum officials in prison or worse.