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Author Topic: FRANCE CHASTISES POPE ON CONDOMS  (Read 42 times)
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« on: March 18, 2009, 05:39:21 pm »

                                                FRANCE CHASTISES POPE ON CONDOMS

The French foreign ministry has voiced "sharp concern" following the Pope's rejection of condom use
to fight Aids.

Benedict XVI, who is on a tour of Africa, said handing out condoms only increased the problem of HIV/Aids.

The Roman Catholic Church says marital fidelity and sexual abstinence are the best way to prevent the spread of HIV.

But France, echoing the reaction of some aid agencies, said it "voices extremely sharp concern over the consequences of [the Pope's comments]".

"While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life," foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said.

'HIV tragedy'

The Pope arrived in Cameroon on Tuesday at the start of his week-long African tour.

He urged Christians everywhere to speak out against corruption and abuses of power.

"A Christian can never remain silent," he said, after being greeted by President Paul Biya, Cameroon's ruler for the past 26 years.

But he sparked controversy by telling reporters that HIV/Aids was "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem".

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

Some activists were dismayed by the approach, saying condoms were one of the few methods proved to stop the spread of HIV.

Rebecca Hodes, of the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa said:

"His opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him

than the lives of Africans."

Some 22 million people are infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, according to UN figures for 2007.

This amounts to about two-thirds of the global total.

Private meeting

The Pope said Catholicism faced a threat from superstition
On Wednesday, the Pope attended a gathering of more than 30 Cameroonian bishops in the capital, Yaounde.

He told the bishops they had to preserve traditional African families and protect the country's poor.

"In the context of globalisation with which we are all familiar, the church takes a particular interest in those who are most deprived," he said.

He said it was the duty of Christians to help to build "a more just world where everyone can live with dignity", the Associated Press reported.

The Pope also warned of a threat to the Catholic Church in Cameroon from evangelical movements and from the "growing influence of superstitious forms of religion".

Earlier on Wednesday, he held a private meeting with Mr Biya at the presidential palace.

The BBC's Caroline Duffield in Yaounde says Mr Biya's consistent electoral victories have been widely condemned as fraudulent.

Having spoken out publically against corruption, many Cameroonians will be hoping that the Pope delivered his message in private as well, says our correspondent.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 05:39:46 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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