An African bishop returning from his first Ad Limina visit with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome said the weeklong meeting included discussions on AIDS and debt relief. The African bishops want the Vatican to lobby for debt relief for the continent’s poorest countries.
Bishop Nubuasah Frank, one of several delegates of the Bishops Conference from Southern Africa on the weeklong visit, told the Mmegi Reporter that contraceptives and homosexuality were not raised with the pontiff as the African bishops are all clear on and in agreement with Catholic teaching on these points.
The vicar-general of Francistown, Botswana, said the Pope encouraged Africans to return to traditional family and sexual moral values. The Pope stressed that sexual intercourse should be open to reproduction and that couples who want to space their children should use natural family planning.
"The Pope believes that Western influences on southern African people's culture is the cause of sexual immorality. The influences include prostitution, divorce, abortion, and contraceptive mentality," the 56-year-old bishop was quoted as saying.
Bishop Nubuasah pointed out that actions against AIDS must include monogamy and abstinence.
"Condoms are not reducing the rate of infection in Botswana,” he said. “How did Uganda succeed? Uganda did not succeed with condoms but with abstinence. The Church, the state and everybody was involved.”
The bishops also discussed what to do in a case when one spouse is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative, said Bishop Nubuasah. He said the response could never include divorce since the Church teaches that marriage is for life.