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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Condoms and AIDS – Ratzo’s considered view

Pope Ratzinger reckons condoms are not the answer to preventing AIDS. Well, he’s right. They’re not the answer.

However, they are part of the answer.

Sexual abstinence, which is what he preaches, will of course prevent sexually transmitted illnesses, but people are people, and will conjoin or otherwise exchange body fluids as part of whatever they get up to.

His remarks have led to quite a debate, as you can well imagine.

Kevin Osborne, HIV adviser at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, is quoted in the (London) Times story linked to above as saying, “All the evidence is that preaching sexual abstinence and fidelity will not solve the problems. We need to work with the reality of where people are, especially in countries he is visiting such as Angola, which is hard-hit by the epidemic.

“The Pope’s message will alienate everybody. It is scary. It spreads stigma and creates a fertile breeding ground for the spread of HIV.”

But Ratzo has an agenda: no sex outside marriage – heterosexual marriage, of course. God says so. Inevitably, Ratzinger will say anything to get people to go along with that.

Does he actually believe he’s telling the truth, or is he telling lies? Who knows? As with so many things he says, he’s talking bullshit.


Anonymous said...

Ratzo is such a pedestrian name. Benny the Rat however encapsulates the whole thing.

Diesel B said...

The trouble with dogma of any kind is that it will eventually put you on a collision course with overwhelming factual evidence that contradicts that dogma. This is why it is important to be a "freethinker" (I use that term in its broadest possible sense) - and not to adhere to rigid scriptures or political ideologies of any kind.

This morning, on Radio 4's Today programme, the former editor of the Catholic Herald, Dr William Oddie, claimed that in Uganda, where abstinence and being faithful are promoted, HIV transmission has fallen dramatically, compared to other African countries which promote condom use and where AIDS transmission has increased.

This sounded impressive, until it was pointed out by another contributor to the programme that Dr Oddball was being somewhat economical with the truth. In Uganda, they subscribe to the A,B,C campaign: Abstinence, Being faithful - and Condoms. Which component has been the most effective will never be proven, of course, but it's clearly a result of all 3, not just the first 2, as Oddball was suggesting.

It's no exaggeration to say that the Catholic Church is positively murderous in its irresponsible misinformation campaign against the efficacy of condoms in combatting the spread of HIV. How depressing that Catholic ideologues would rather shore up their own foolish and shaky ideology through a cynical campaign of misinformation and half-truths, than save the life of a single African.

Stuart Hartill said...

Yup, Diesel,I heard that shouty git too on Radio 4 - that Bill Oddie should stick to birdwatching!
For some realistic info on what's going wrong in Uganda because of Christian charities in particular, also take a look at

Andy Armitage said...

I heard the odd Oddie Diesel B speaks of, and at one point he was really quite combative, with "Are you calling me a liar?" The other chap was the better arguer. Yes, I was impressed at first, although, even if STD transmission had gone down only as a result of faithfulness and abstinence, how much of that might be enforced with sanctions – if only "soft" ones via community disapprobation? I don't know, of course, but human nature, especially driven by youthful and powerful hormones, may not be so easy to rein in. If people can form loving one-to-one relationships, then fine, and one has to be happy for them, but we're sexual creatures, and that's what drives our survival (though I won't fall into the teleological trap of saying that sex is somehow "intended" for that purpose, only that it fulfils that role and so the urge gets passed on).

Diesel B said...

In response to Stuart Hartill (above) I followed and read the link you provided with interest. You have to pity the poor Africans, still suffering the aftermath of colonial exploitation, prey to daffy US evangelists on the one hand and vile Marxists on the other, or otherwise clobbered by maverick homegrown zealots and dictators.