Here’s what you won’t – and don’t – see in the media, who have made it clear they are out to bring down Benedict XVI for his refusal to accept their own moral relativism.
By John-Henry Westen
March 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Centre for Population and Development Studies, has said that the evidence confirms that the Pope is correct in his assessment that condom distribution exacerbates the problem of AIDS.
“The Pope is correct,” Green told National Review Online, “or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the Pope’s comments.”
“There is,” Green added, “a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the US-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.”
The Harvard AIDS Project’s webpage on Green lists his book “Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries”. It is stated that Green reveals, “The largely medical solutions funded by major donors have had little impact in Africa, the continent hardest hit by AIDS.
“Instead, relatively simple, low-cost behavioral change programs-stressing increased monogamy and delayed sexual activity for young people-have made the greatest headway in fighting or preventing the disease’s spread.”
The full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s exchange with the reporter, which has set off a firestorm around the world in the media, has been released by the Vatican press office.
The Pope was asked, “Holy Father among the many evils that affect Africa there is also the particular problem of the spread of AIDS. The position of the Catholic Church for fighting this evil is frequently considered unrealistic and ineffective?”
Benedict XVI replied:
“I would say the opposite. I think that the reality that is most effective, the most present and the strongest in the fight against AIDS, is precisely that of the Catholic Church, with its programs and its diversity.
“I think of the Sant’Egidio Community, which does so much visibly and invisibly in the fight against AIDS … and of all the sisters at the service of the sick.
“I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with money – which is important, but if there is no soul, no people who know how to use it, (money) doesn’t help.
“One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem. The solution can only be a double one: first, a humanisation of sexuality, that is, a spiritual human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; second, a true friendship even and especially with those who suffer, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices and to be with the suffering. And these are factors that help and that result in real and visible progress.
“Therefore I would say this is our double strength – to renew the human being from the inside, to give him spiritual human strength for proper behavior regarding one’s own body and toward the other person, and the capacity to suffer with the suffering. … I think this is the proper response and the Church is doing this, and so it offers a great and important contribution. I thank all those who are doing this.”
FULL INTERVIEW FROM NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE:
From Saint Peter’s Square to Harvard Square
Media coverage of papal comments on AIDS in Africa is March madness.
By Kathryn Jean Lopez
have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower
HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be
seeing if this intervention was working.”
So notes Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project
at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, in
response to papal press comments en route to Africa this week.
Benedict XVI said,
in response to a French reporter’s question asking him to defend the
Church’s position on fighting the spread of AIDS, characterized by the
reporter as “frequently considered unrealistic and ineffective”:
I would say that this
problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans. If the
soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge
cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk
worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a twofold
commitment: firstly, the humanization of sexuality, in other words a
spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one
another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with those who are
suffering, a readiness — even through personal sacrifice — to be
present with those who suffer. And these are the factors that help and
bring visible progress.
“The pope is correct,” Green told National Review Online Wednesday,
“or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s
comments. He stresses that “condoms have been proven to not be effective at the ‘level of population.’”
is,” Green adds, “a consistent association shown by our best studies,
including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater
availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection
rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk
compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’
such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by
‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without
the risk-reduction technology.”
Green added: “I also noticed
that the pope said ‘monogamy’ was the best single answer to African
AIDS, rather than ‘abstinence.’ The best and latest empirical evidence
indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual
partners is the most important single behavior change associated with
reduction in HIV-infection rates (the other major factor is male
And while, as Travis Kavulla
writes from Kenya, the international media will ignore all sorts of
fascinating new stories about church and civilizational growth in favor
of a sexier, albeit way-too-familiar storyline, Green has some
encouraging news: The pope is not alone. “More and more AIDS experts
are coming to accept the above. The two countries with the worst HIV
epidemics, Swaziland and Botswana, have both launched campaigns to
discourage multiple and concurrent partners, and to encourage fidelity.”
pope added during that Q&A, “I would say that our double effort is
to renew the human person internally, to give spiritual and human
strength to a way of behaving that is just towards our own body and the
other person’s body; and this capacity of suffering with those who
suffer, to remain present in trying situations.”
We need to, in
other words, treat people as people. Reason with them and show them
there is a better way to live, respectful of themselves and others.
It’s a common-sense message that isn’t madness whether you’re in Africa
or dealing with hormonal American teenagers. It’s a hard message to
hear over the same-old silly debates, parodies, and dismissals. But
it’s one that is based on real life—and that’s acknowledged not just in
Saint Peter’s Square but in Harvard Square.