Don't just throw around loud “no” all the time

It was not surprising that during the Pope's trip to Africa – after the debacle over the traditionalists and Holocaust denier Richard Williamson – the controversy over the AIDS ie would break out anew. Already on the flight to Cameroon he commented on this – and repeated the church's position. The media are eagerly pouncing on the statement about condoms – and are studiously overlooking the church's multifaceted fight against immunodeficiency. On Wednesday the Vatican reacted with a statement.

It is necessary to correct "the image that we only throw around 'no'", Pope Benedict XVI replied. in the large television interview before its Bavaria journey 2006 to the topic AIDS in Africa. He made it clear that the church must fight AIDS primarily through education and care for the sick, and that the church in Africa is already doing a great deal in this area. Technology and technical knowledge, it made clear at the time, were not enough if the standards for the proper use of that technology were lacking. The problem of AIDS cannot be solved merely with advertising slogans, with money and not even with the distribution of condoms, the pope said now before his visit to Africa. On the contrary, there is a risk of increasing the problem, probably because it would advertise sexual promiscuity. What is more important is a "humanization of sexuality," a different way of dealing with each other, and attention to those who suffer. The Pope did not say anything new, explained Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. It reiterated the Church's previous position, and it would not introduce any new positions on this subject during the course of the trip. For the Church, the spread of AIDS cannot be blocked by condoms – especially since the disease is spread in Africa not only through sexual contact, but also through poor hygiene, for example in hospitals. Rather, it is a matter of education for responsible sexual behavior, of propagating the essential role of marriage and family. The Church is by no means inactive here, but makes a significant contribution to the fight against the pandemic through an active presence, through competent and efficient assistance, and through free treatment for as many patients as possible. The Church is concentrating its efforts in this area because it considers it to be the most effective method in the long term for combating the scourge of AIDS. Contrary to some amptions three years ago, a Vatican change of course in the matter of AIDS is not to be expected at present. At the time, Vatican Health Minister Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan had caused speculation when he commissioned a study. However, this was not about a general church approval of condoms, especially since sex outside of marriage is considered a sin by the church. Rather, they asked whether partners in marriage could use a condom if one of them was infected with HIV to prevent infection: Condom use as a "lesser evil," a means to "legitimate defense". After lengthy discussion of the more than 100-page study, the Vatican decided not to ie a new paper. It is a very difficult problem in terms of moral theology, and among moral theologians there is a whole range of legitimate positions, they said at the time. A partial or conditional relaxation of the ban would create confusion. However, one would certainly react appropriately in individual cases to those affected. At the time, Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium called protection against infection or death an "act of precaution that is morally different from the use of condoms for the purpose of contraception". And the former Vatican court theologian Cardinal George Cottier also said that in certain cases condom use could be morally legitimate.

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