By Fr. George Welzbacher
April 19, 2009 - Divine Mercy Sunday
Maureen Dowd, an attack-dog columnist for the New York Times and an exultant apostate from the Catholic faith who once devoted an entire column to explaining why she detests the celebration of Christmas, recently characterized a politician whom she happens to dislike as being, if anything, "more stupid than the pope." In Ms. Dowd's considered judgment Pope Benedict's supposed "stupidity" was on manifest display in the statement that he made to a group of reporters on the papal plane while en route to Cameroon in West Africa, to the effect that over-reliance on condoms to secure protection against contracting AIDS could actually increase the risk of falling victim to that disease. Ms. Dowd's, of course, is just one of many voices howling their vituperations against the pope for having uttered so un-P.C. an opinion. Which is why I think it's important to call attention to those who, ignored for the most part by the mainstream media, have dared to point out that it is precisely Pope Benedict's position that all of the evidence supports.
Here are two presentations of evidence persuasively affirming the papal assessment of the risk that excessive trust in condoms entails.
* * * * *Cult of the Condom
By: Jeffrey T. Kuhner
From: The Washington Times
Monday, March 30, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI is under fire for reiterating, while on his first pilgrimage to Africa, the Catholic Church's opposition to the use of condoms. The pontiff told reporters that condoms are not the solution to the AIDS epidemic ravaging the continent; rather, they "aggravate" the problem. [What he said precisely was that over-reliance on condoms can heighten the risk of contracting AIDS].
His comments sparked a firestorm. "My reaction is that this represents a major step backward in terms of global health education, is entirely counterproductive, and is likely to lead to increases in HIV infection in Africa and elsewhere," said Quentin Sattentau, a professor of immunology at Britain's Oxford University. Even the French government got involved. "While it is not up to us to pass a judgment on the doctrines of the church, we consider that such remarks put in danger public health policy and imperative needs regarding the protection of human life," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said....
However, Pope Benedict simply restated the church's long-held view that sexual abstinence plus fidelity within traditional marriage is the most effective way to prevent the spread of HIV infection. He is right: AIDS is a disease caused by behavior; it is not hereditary or genetic. HIV is most commonly transmitted by sex between men, intravenous drug use and heterosexual sex. It is a disease that primarily plagues homosexuals, drug users and those who engage in promiscuous sex with multiple, overlapping partners. Correcting these forms of behavior will dramatically curb the HIV infection rate.
Moreover, distributing condoms has NOT been effective but has only made the situation WORSE. Nearly 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV. The AIDS crisis threatens the continent's economic and social stability. Africa is short of many things-food, water, good governance - but condoms is not one of them. United Nations, health and family planning agencies have relentlessly promoted them for years. Yet condoms are not the solution for one simple reason: Their use encourages RECKLESS sexual activity, a major SOURCE of the pandemic.
Contrary to the claims of so-called "experts," condoms are not infallible. Many of them break, tear or come off during intercourse. Wearing a condom while having sex outside of marriage is a form of Russian roulette - a high stakes game that comes with a potentially devastating price.
Birth control leads to higher rates of sexual activity. Condoms create the ILLUSION that they offer protection from the moral and physical consequences of sex. Hence individuals INCREASINGLY engage in permissive, risky behavior, EXPANDING their appetite for more sexual pleasure. The result is a sex-obsessed, promiscuous culture in which sometimes condoms are used and other times they're not, depending on the person's "mood."
Thus, AIDS is METASTASIZING across Africa because too many people have no regard for their bodies, and are willing to engage in deadly behavior. All the condoms in the world will not change this dysfunctional culture. Only a spiritual revival---one that is being led by the Catholic Church--can ultimately alter hearts, minds and actions.
The pope's critics do not have to look at Africa for evidence that condoms are ineffective in combating AIDS. All they must do is look CLOSER TO HOME: WASHINGTON, D.C.
The District's official report two weeks ago was astounding: The number of people with HlV infections ROSE 22 PERCENT FROM 2006 TO 2007. More ominously the report said 6.5 percent of the city's black men are infected-that is more than 1 in 20. The disease is decimating not only the District's gay community, but its African-American neighborhoods. Yet, the city has a MAJOR CONDOM DISTRIBUTION POLICY. More than 1.5 million condoms were distributed in 2008. In other words, it is RAINING CONDOMS and still the District's AIDS rate is SOARING. The answer is not free birth control or more sex education, but a return to the old Judeo- Christian MORAL order-marriage, abstinence and personal responsibility.
From its inception, contraception was intended to SUPPLANT traditional morality; to REPLACE the ethic of self-control, chastity and sex for procreation with a new one of sexual recreation. Artificial birth control was one of the most revolutionary--and destructive-inventions of the 20th century. It has fostered a shallow secularism based on hedonism and amoral individualism.
The sexual revolution of the 1960's destroyed the old America, which was characterized by the nuclear family and Christianity. Radicals, such as Herbert Marcuse and other New Left gurus, understood that overthrowing bourgeois civilization and capitalism depended upon destroying their CULTURAL underpinnings. Marcuse championed the "pleasure principle," arguing for a new society centered on sexual gratification. He openly calledfor "polymorphous perversity," such as contraception, free love, abortion, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.
For leftist revolutionaries, the pill and the condom have served as the hammer and sickle of cultural Marxism. "Birth Control appeals to the advanced radical because it is CALCULATED to undermine the authority of the Christian churches," said Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. "I look forward to seeing humanity free someday of the tyranny of Christianity no less than [that of] capitalism."
That day has come. The 1960s counterculture has triumphed. Its decadent values now reign supreme, slowly sapping the West of its moral vitality. It has failed, however, to smash the Catholic Church. The Vatican is the last line of resistance.
The liberal elite know this. Hence, their relentless assault on Pope Benedict. The recent attacks on him have nothing to do with Africa or stopping the scourge of HIV. The deadly virus has killed 25 million around the world--part of the sexual revolution's countless victims. No other social institution has done more to fight AIDS or assist Africa's poor than the Roman Catholic Church. The real issue is more existential - and belligerent: the replacement of Christianity with the new quasi-religion of sexual liberation.
It is the cult of the condom, and it does not tolerate any other gods. [Emphasis added].
* * * * *See Who Says Pope Was Right About Condoms, AIDS
By: Drew Zahn
March 23, 2009
A senior Harvard research scientist confirmed that POPE BENEDICT XVI, who endured heavy criticism for declaring that condom distribution programs WORSEN the AIDS epidemic in Africa, WAS ACTUALLY CORRECT.
DR. EDWARD C. GREEN, DIRECTOR of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the HARVARD CENTER FOR POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT STUDIES, told National Review Online last week that despite AIDS activists and media outlets pounding the pope for downplaying the effectiveness of condoms, the SCIENCE actually SUPPORTS the Catholic leader's claim.
"The pope is CORRECT," Green told NRO, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have SUPPORTS the pope's comments."
"There is," Green added, "a CONSISTENT association shown by our BEST studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between GREATER availability and use of condoms and HIGHER (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as RISK compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take WITHOUT the risk-reduction technology."
Aboard a plane traveling to Yaounde, Cameroon, last week, a French reporter told Benedict that the Catholic approach to combating AIDS enncouraging monogamy within marriage and abstinence before-was often considered unrealistic and ineffective.
According to transcripts released by theVatican, Benedict responded, "This problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is. If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help [by responsible behavior], the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it"...
According to Green ... the pope's critics have bought into a common myth about condoms and AIDS.
"We have found NO consistent associations between condom use and LOWER HIV-infection rates," said Green, "which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working."
Instead, Green noted, the pope's ENCOURAGEMENT of Africans toward monogamous sexual relationships has proven to be a MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE strategy:
"The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates," Green said.
In UGANDA., according to a report in Science magazine, teaching about AIDS and promoting MONOGAMY has led to a DRAMATIC TURNAROUND in the country's AIDS epidemic.
"Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is preventable IF populations are mobilized to avoid risk," states the report's summary. "Despite limited resources, Uganda has shown A 70 PERCENT DECLINE in HlV prevalence since the early 1990s, linked to a 60 percent reduction in casual sex. The response in Uganda appears to be distinctively associated with communication about AIDS through social networks. Despite substantial condom use and promotion of biomedical approaches, OTHER African countries have shown neither similar behavioral responses nor HIV prevalence declines of the same scale. The Ugandan success is equivalent to a vaccine of 80 percent effectiveness.
Green further told NRO, "More and more AIDS experts are coming to accept the above. The two countries with the worst HIV epidemics, Swaziland and Botswana, have both launched campaigns to discourage multiple and concurrent partners, and to encourage FIDELITY." [Emphasis added].