African bishops are throwing their support behind Benedict XVI regarding his March comments on the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS.
Benedict XVI’s comments on condoms were made on his flight to Africa in March as part of his explanation of the Church’s two prong approach to fighting AIDS. At one point in his response the Pontiff stressed that AIDS cannot be overcome by advertising slogans and distributing condoms and argued that they “worsen the problem.” The media responded with an avalanche of over 4,000 articles on the subject, calling Benedict a “threat to public health,” and saying that the Catholic Church should “enter the 21st century.”
According to AllAfrica.com, President of Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa (SECAM) Cardinal Polycarp Pengo explained that the Pope’s shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
"He was only reaffirming the Church's position with regards to the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS,” said the cardinal of Pope Benedict. “His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, often said that sexual abstinence, not condoms, was the best way to prevent the spread of the disease."
Cardinal Pengo went on to explain that the best way to fight HIV is “a responsible and moral attitude toward sex," such as “fidelity in marriage, chastity and abstinence from premarital sex as key weapons in the fight against AIDS," reported AllAfrica.com
The cardinal also expressed disappointment that many of the Pope’s messages faded into the background behind the condom controversy, but was confident that those who wanted to learn from the Holy Father’s words would be able to do so.
"It is regrettable that his courageous statements have been misinterpreted as out of touch with modern day realities,” however we “are deeply grateful to him for his pastoral visit to our beloved continent as well as his messages to us and all the people of the continent. His visit has enkindled our hope in Christ and we are energized for more commitment to our Christian faith. We assure him of our solidarity and support," Cardinal Pengo concluded.