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Catholics and Condoms: Pope says Condoms aggravate African AIDS Crisis
The Pope today reignited the controversy over the Catholic church's stance on condom use as he made his first trip to Africa. The pontiff said condoms were not the answer to the continent's fight against HIV and Aids and could make the problem worse.
Benedict XVI made his comments as he flew to Cameroon for the first leg of a six-day trip that will also see him travelling to Angola. The timing of his remarks outraged health agencies trying to halt the spread of HIV and Aids in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated 22 million people are infected.
The Roman Catholic church encourages sexual abstinence and fidelity to prevent the disease from spreading, but it is a policy that has divided some clergy working with Aids patients. The pontiff, speaking to journalists on his flight, said the condition was "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems".
According to The FDA: "Condoms are not 100% safe, but if used properly, will reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS."
1) Is it sensible for someone who denies an empirical basis of facts to make empirical claims?
2) How can a conversation occur between, say, the Pope and the FDA with regard to the utility of condoms?
3) Is it sensible to attempt to modify Catholicism with regard to condom use or is Catholicism fundamentally flawed given its primary assumptions of reality?
4) What of the Pope's position? Ideologically it can be defended. So what of the view of reality this ideological position manifests? To link to question 2, are the FDA and the Pope discussing the same thing?
5) Could it be sensibly argued that the Pope is correct?