Benedict XVI, and a Question ...

Well, as you have probably heard, we have a new Pope.

I say "we" even though I am not a Roman Catholic (although you could say that us Anglicans are pretty close, and that we would be closer still were it not for Henry VIII's matrimonial problems). As John Paul II's impact on the world around us illustrates, you don't have to be Catholic - or even Christian - to be affected by the papacy.

If you'll pardon what may seem like a cheesy (but sincere) line, I hope that the joyful spirit that I saw amongst the pilgrims in Vatican City spreads around the world.

Now, the question:

Benedict XVI is seen as a "conservative" within the RC hierarchy. As such, I presume that he shares John Paul II's aversion to birth control, including condoms. I have already read plenty of comments from people saying that this sort of thing is responsible for the spread of AIDS in Africa (amongst other places).

Help me out here. People are blaming the RC Church for the spread of AIDS b/c of its position on condoms. Well, isn't that a case of blaming the Church for people who follow only a portion of the Church's rules? Let's not forget, the Church also calls for sexual faithfulness within marriage, and abstinence outside of it. If a person is only going to obey some of the Church's rules, are the consequences the fault of the Church?

Now, I have also heard people say that my argument is too simplistic, and that it ignores the power imbalance between men & women, especially in some parts of the developping world. These people argue that it's not fair to women to expect men to follow the rules re: faithfullness and/or abstinence, and to get infected with AIDS as a result.

On the surface, that's a very good point. But in response, I have to ask this: if a man is, shall we say, "catting around" and sleeping with any female he can, do you really think he's overly concerned with Church doctrine, and do you really think the reason why he's not wearing a condom is because the Pope says it's a sin? Believe you me, I have heard and/or read about men who have no time for condoms, and religion has little, if anything, to do with it. It's not as if these people would say "well, time to start using a condom" if the Pope was to say it's ok.

Anyway, it may seem inappropriate to mix a debate over condoms in with commentary about the new Pope, but if that aint stopping the media, it aint stopping me.

As always, your thougts are welcome!

More later.


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