Here’s an interesting news story just out:
PARIS (AFP) – One of the world’s top medical journals accused Pope Benedict XVI on Friday [today in the U.S.] of having distorted scientific evidence in his remarks on condom use and demanded he make a retraction.
“By saying that condoms exacerbate the problem of HIV/AIDS, the Pope has publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue,” The Lancet said in an editorial.
“Whether the Pope’s error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear.
“But the comment still stands, and the Vatican’s attempts to tweak the Pope’s words, further tampering with the truth, is not the way forward.”
The London-based journal added: “When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record.
“Anything less from Pope Benedict would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates, including many thousands of Catholics, who work tirelessly to try and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide.”
The pope made the controversial remarks last week when he traveled to Africa, the worst-hit continent for AIDS.
AIDS is a tragedy “that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems,” the pope said aboard his flight to Cameroon.
Image: Demonstrators show condoms on the edge of the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, in Rome, as Pope Benedict XVI was making his return from a one-week visit in Africa, Monday March 23, 2009. The pontiff on Monday returned from Africa with a final impassioned plea to corrupt leaders to let the poor share in some of the proceeds of the continent’s natural resources. The parting words followed a controversial first pilgrimage to the continent where the growing number of Catholics welcomed his ringing denunciations of corruption - while critics worldwide condemned his rejection of condoms to fight the AIDS epidemic. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Pope’s Message of Ignorance in Africa
Vatican Considers the “Lesser of Two Evils”
Recommended Off-site Links:
The Pope and Condoms - William Crawley (BBC, March 23, 2009).
Catholic Church Should Put Its Own House in Order - Betty Caplan (Daily Nation, March 26, 2009).