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POPE: Condoms Not The Answer In AIDS Fight

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Bianca
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« on: March 17, 2009, 07:32:33 am »









                                       Pope: condoms not the answer in AIDS fight






Victor L. Simpson,
Associated Press Writer
March 17, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday that the distribution of condoms is not the answer in the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Benedict has never before spoken explicitly on condom use although he has stressed that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against AIDS. The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.

"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde, Cameroon. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."

Some priests and nuns working with victims of the AIDS pandemic ravaging Africa question the church's opposition to condoms.

The pope also said that he intends to make an appeal for "international solidarity" for Africa in the face of the global economic downturn.

He said that while the church does not propose specific economic solutions, it can give "spiritual and moral" suggestions.

Describing the current crisis as the consequence of "a deficit of ethics in economic structures," the pope said, "It is here that the church can make a contribution."

Benedict's seven-day pilgrimage will take him to Cameroon and Angola.

Africa is the fastest-growing region for the Roman Catholic Church.
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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2009, 07:44:58 am »










                                              Pope takes off on first trip to Africa






March 17, 2009
Martine Nouaille
ROME
(AFP)

Pope Benedict XVI left Rome on Tuesday for Cameroon, the first leg of a week-long trip to Africa that will also take the octogenarian pontiff to Angola.

In a courtesy telegram to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on his departure, the pope said he was "moved by the strong desire to meet my brothers in faith and the inhabitants of these dear nations."

The trip is Benedict's first as pontiff to Africa, and during his Sunday Angelus blessing he said he wanted to wrap his arms around the entire continent, with "its painful wounds, its enormous potential and hopes."

He also said he intended to "confirm the faith of Catholics, encourage Christians in their ecumenical engagement and transmit to all the announcement of peace given to the Church by Christ resurrected."

The pope, who will turn 82 on April 16, last month said he wanted 2009 to be the "Year of Africa," to include the trip to Cameroon and Angola, a conference of African bishops in Rome in September and an African synod at the Vatican in October.

The pope was expected to land in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde around 4:00 pm.

The stop in Yaounde, where Benedict will stay until Friday, will include a meeting with the representatives of 52 African states preparing the October synod on the theme of "The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace."

Benedict, who is due to celebrate an open-air mass in Yaounde on Thursday, will also meet with representatives of the Muslim community and associations serving the handicapped.

Cameroon enjoys harmonious relations between Christians and members of other faiths, in contrast with neighbouring Nigeria where conflicts persist between Christians and Muslims.

In December, at least 200 people were killed in such violence in Jos, a city in central Nigeria.

Imam Ibrahim Moubarak Mbombo, head of the Islamic Union of Cameroon, has said that the two groups -- each numbering around eight million in a population of some 18.5 million -- stress their solidarity with each other.

He pointed to Cameroon's diverse makeup, with some 250 ethnic groups, as a factor contributing to peaceful coexistence, and noted that inter-faith marriages were commonplace.

"When disadvantaged Christians come to us, we help them," he told AFP in Yaounde, and cited the example of a Christian who donated funds to enable the construction of a mosque in the southwestern city of Buea.

Inter-faith working groups meet to discuss "the fight against corruption, violence on women and to try to find solutions together," said Catholic sociologist Pierre Titi Nwel.

In Angola, which is still recovering from 27 years of civil war, Benedict will meet with diplomats posted in Luanda and urge the international community not to abandon Africa.

The world's poorest continent today is torn by many other conflicts, notably in Sudan's western Darfur state, often cited by the pope in his public speeches and prayers, as well as in the DR Congo, Ivory Coast and elsewhere.

Benedict will celebrate an open-air mass in Luanda on Sunday.

The trip is Benedict's 11th outside Italy in his four years as the head of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics and his first to Africa.

While it is his first trip to Africa as pope, Benedict has travelled to the continent once before, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1987 when he visited the DR Congo (then Zaire). 
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