Pope Benedict XVI apparently sees grace in ignorance. Today, he used the opening moments of his first trip to Africa to reiterate the Church's opposition to condom use. Feels crazy just to type that out. Even worse when it's being trotted around a continent with more than 22 million people already HIV positive, not to mention the host of other STD and family-planning concerns that Africans face.
"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane heading to Yaounde. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."
That's just a lie. You could fill the Vatican with research that shows exactly the opposite. But whatever. This mess is sadly not new. For all 27 years of this epidemic, all the way around the globe, the Church has thumbed its nose at science and actively worked to undermine public heath efforts to control HIV's spread. It wouldn't even be worth commenting upon at this point, if not for the fact that millions of people who listen to the Pope's words are likely to put their lives at risk because of it.