Get a Clue, Pope Benny

questionmarkI hate the Roman Catholic stance on birth control. It's irresponsible and incredibly dangerous. Back in the day, when I'd go off on Pope John Paul II for forcing me away from the church, it was the church's views on birth control that really exposed the institution as irrelevant and without a clue.

With Pope Benedict XVI, it's much of the same. Pope Benny is in Africa where the AIDS epidemic has orphaned 11.6 million children. Over 5% of adults there live with HIV/AIDS, and with many converting to Catholicism, Pope Benny could have made a difference. He could have promoted condoms as the best way for the sexually active to prevent spreading of this deadly disease. Instead, he did his best to dissuade Africans from using condoms.

The pope began his first visit as pontiff to the AIDS-ravaged continent on Tuesday, telling reporters that AIDS was a tragedy "that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."

The solution lies in a "spiritual and human awakening" and "friendship for those who suffer," he added.

This is tantamount to manslaughter. The idea that distributing condoms in Africa will make the epidemic worse is entirely outdated and out of touch with reality. Newsflash Benny, people are having sex. Abstinence doesn't fly. Teaching abstinence as the only way to prevent AIDs is as misdirected as teaching abstinence as the only way to prevent pregnancy.

Toronto Mike sez use a condom.

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Comments (25 - click here to join in!)

james edgar

Well said Mike. The Catholic churches stand on birth control is unbeleiveable and just wrong.

A good quote that sums up my disdain for this organization.
"The eternal city rome, is home to the vatican, where a religion based on a homeless man, is run by a guy in a castle" - Bill Maher

March 18, 2009 @ 2:14 PM


Mike: Freddiep has already beaten this topic to death. You and him are both wrong - the Pope is correct when he says condom use will not stop the spread of AIDS.

Like I posted on Fred' s site:

Ultimately the best solution or method of not getting AIDS is abstinence - plain and simple.

If I lived in a society where half of the people had AIDS (but I didn't know which ones did), I don't think I would be taking my chances with a condom. When I consider my priorities (being free of AIDS or gettin' some) I'm going to choose the former. Call me crazy but that's just me!

March 18, 2009 @ 3:17 PM

Toronto Mike

Clearly they're not abstaining, and your buddy Dubya has throw mega cash at that initiative.

Since they're having sex, as humans are apt to do, isn't it safer that they have sex while using condoms?

March 18, 2009 @ 3:22 PM


They are free to do what they want. If they want to take a chance with their life (even if they are wearing condoms) then who's to stop them?

Obviously not many Africans are listening to the Pope when it comes to sex outside of the marriage which explains the rampant spread of AIDS on that continent, so why would they listen now?

March 18, 2009 @ 3:27 PM

Toronto Mike

Good point, Argie. 99% of Catholics are using condoms, so clearly nobody's listening, in Africa or not.

March 18, 2009 @ 3:29 PM

Pension Plan Puppets

To be fair, that's the stance on sex for every major religion. The Pope is just an easy figure to hold up to bash.

Why should the Church change it's teachings to suit people's desire to do whatever they want? As you have done the option is to leave the Church but I don't see why people want centuries old beliefs changed just because they don't want to be constrained by them.

As for condoms in Africa, it's a much more complicated issue and the reporters did a disservice to Pope Benedict by not exploring it further. Giving Africans tonnes of condoms will not stop the spread of AIDS because they won't change the societal norms that make Africa such a powerful breeding ground for the spread of AIDS.

They should definitely have as much access as possible as condoms can at least mitigate some of those problems but the real solution will lie in educating the continent about how AIDS is spread, that adultery is wrong, that having sex with virgins can't cure AIDS, and any number of other completely backward beliefs that combine to foster such a fertile breeding ground for the disease.

March 18, 2009 @ 3:57 PM

Toronto Mike

It's one thing to keep the status quo, we'd all be shocked if Pope Benny suddenly declared the church was okay with birth control.

But to visit Africa and suggest that distributing condoms "aggravates the problems" is irresponsible and counter-productive.

He can go back to his gumdrop house on lollypop lane.

March 18, 2009 @ 4:04 PM


Ok mike: So we all know you love the Wire (I haven't seen the show but I hear from other people its pretty good) and you hate George Bush, the Catholic Church and its Pope.

How come you avoid writing about the religion of Peace (Islam)? Do you endorse everything about the religion? Isn't there something that perturbs you about it? Are you Ok with all of the killings in the name of 'allah'? Huh Mike?

March 18, 2009 @ 4:34 PM

Toronto Mike

Firstly, I write about Catholicism more than other religions because I was raised with the religion, it's what I know and I write about what I know.

As for endorsing everything about Islam, I don't know what you're talking about. A quick search reveals these two:

Aqsa Parvez Tragedy

Jyllands-Posten vs. Muhammad

It's like the dentist on Seinfeld who converted to Judaism for the jokes. As a baptized Catholic with at least three other sacraments under his belt, I'm entitled to speak out.

March 18, 2009 @ 4:42 PM


Wow Mike: Two articles in total - impressive! You also didn't really discuss the culture of Islam in your Parvez post.

I will however give you kudos for having a link to the cartoons - I had not seen them before.

March 18, 2009 @ 5:02 PM

james edgar

Argie where is your blog? I too want to see more anti Islam articles. Obviously you must have many on your Blog. Please post the URL.

March 18, 2009 @ 6:47 PM


If you beleive in a religion you must abide by all rules.
If you are a TRUE you must adhere to. I agree that most of Catholic rules are old time & must be changed. If you don't beleive what the PEEP has to say maybe time for a change for yourself.
Do you abide? Your probably like most - NEVER go to church maybe only XMAS & EASTER if that. Hypocrital.
Are you are true Catholic?

March 18, 2009 @ 10:51 PM

Ajax Mike

Chris has a point. Really the only non-hypocritical religious folks out there (of any religion) are the fundamentalists. Which is what truely scares me about religion.

March 19, 2009 @ 7:49 AM

Toronto Mike

Chris, Pope Benny's been after my badge for years. I've been a very bad Catholic.

And Ajax Mike is right about the fundamentalists of any religion.

I stand by my point. Many Africans are converting to Catholicism and for Pope Benny to make a statement like that during his first visit to the AIDS-ravaged region is aggravatingly bass ackwards.

We should be encouraging the distribution and use of condoms, not suggesting it will make the epidemic worse.

March 19, 2009 @ 9:19 AM


Mike: Its funny, I was just reading your post from 2005 when JP II was near the end of his glorious life.

I admired JP II very much but what's funny is that you thought he was too conservative and old school while I thought he was a tad too liberal.

I mean he was liberal in the sense that he encouraged wealthy western countries to forgive all debts from African countries. He forgave and heard the confession of the bastard who tried to kill him. He spoke out against the Iraq war and questioned Bush as to the reasons for invading a sovereign country.

Like i said he was a tad too liberal for me. Mind you he was great man and hopefully he will be named a saint.

March 19, 2009 @ 1:06 PM

Toronto Mike

Argie, I think we should pitch the CBC a sitcom.

Two roommates: one is a neocon who hates Toronto, the other voted for David Miller.

With the right time slot, we could be the next Being Erica.

March 19, 2009 @ 1:08 PM


Roommates? I dont know about that.

March 19, 2009 @ 1:14 PM

Toronto Mike

Here's an idea...

A judge orders me to be your butler...

March 19, 2009 @ 1:15 PM


Pitch it to CTV and call it The Trouble With Argie.

March 19, 2009 @ 1:51 PM

Toronto Mike

Someone out there must know someone at CTV. Let's set up a meeting.

March 19, 2009 @ 1:52 PM

Toronto Mike

Damn, this is a hilarious coincidence.

For fun, I checked out statcounter and found this visit from CTV 20 minutes ago!

March 19, 2009 @ 1:57 PM


Quick Mike, erase my comment before they get any crazy ideas.

March 19, 2009 @ 2:03 PM

stephanie Wilkinson

.... once again.... everything in life always comes back to an episode of Seinfeld...

March 19, 2009 @ 9:32 PM

Pension Plan Puppets

First off, to suggest that Mike can't write about Catholicism because he is relapsed or doesn't criticise other religions enough to suit you people is absurd.

But to visit Africa and suggest that distributing condoms "aggravates the problems" is irresponsible and counter-productive.

That oversimplifies his point. He isn't saying that condoms don't work to stop the spread of disease but there are more important things to focus on. His point (or at least what should be taken away), aside from being faithful to the tenets of his religion, is that condoms are a way of papering over the cracks of the true problems in Africa.

March 26, 2009 @ 5:55 PM

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