Pope stirs condom debate; UCC unit urges condom distribution in churches

HIV/AIDS prevention
During a weeklong visit to Africa in March, Pope Benedict XVI told journalists accompanying him on the papal plane to Cameroon that making condoms widely available “increased the problem” of AIDS. The remark, similar to the Vatican’s longstanding emphasis on sexual abstinence, revived controversy over how best to stem the global AIDS epidemic that has devastated sub-Saharan Africa.

The pontiff said March 17 that distributing condoms worsened the danger of the disease. The next day the Vatican sought to soften the comment in a version of it posted on the Holy See’s Web site that said condoms “risk” increasing the problem of AIDS.

On March 23, the day Benedict left Angola for Rome, demonstrators staged a protest outside St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in a rally to commemorate AIDS victims.


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