Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On Condoms for Africa

You gotta' love the Pope. I mean, you gotta'. The thing that I love most about Benedict XVI (and that I loved about JPII) is his propensity to speak out on Catholic truths in the way only the Pope can. I mean, it's amazing.

Say you're the Pope. You could participate in the non-stop cultural haggling that bloggers like myself are used to. You could try to couch words and ideas in such a way that they will be least offensive, when you know they're going to be offensive anyways. Or, you could simply respond directly and thoughtfully to questions about what you believe and set everyone else off in a polemical tizzy.

This is what happened recently when the Pope explained to reporters the Catholic perspective on AIDS prevention in Africa.

In case you haven't heard, there are two types of people in the world. I'm sure you've heard, but perhaps you haven't heard of this latest division. You see, everybody knows that human beings are in rough straits. We're pretty sad creatures, really. Everyone knows that is true, although some people only think it is true of everyone else. But, in any case, here's the division. Some people think that we're helpless and hopeless and that's just fine. Others don't.

If you work for an NGO (non-governmental organization), chances are that you are of the former group. You think that contraceptives are the greatest thing ever, because people can go on being rotten and weak and sad - and condoms can dull the edge of our rotten, weak, and sad behavior. We can go on being that way and the consequences of our wicked actions won't be as bad. And you know what? That's just sad.

So then you have the other view, which says that it's the behavior itself that has to change. Not only that, but they also say that trying to reduce the impact of crappy behavior can actually encourage that behavior. Imagine that!

But you gotta' love the Pope. He just lays it out, like he's talking to a retarded person about heating up baked beans for dinner. Don't worry, I'm also mentally retarded compared to the Pope.

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