[ExI] Medical journal says Pope full of shit

John K Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Fri Mar 27 15:32:00 UTC 2009

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - A prestigious medical journal on Friday accused 
Pope Benedict of distorting scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine 
by saying that condoms increase the spread of AIDS.

The Lancet in an editorial called on the Pope to retract the comments made 
last week, saying anything less would be an immense disservice to the public 
and health advocates fighting to contain the disease.

"When any influential person, be it a religious or political leader, makes a 
false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of 
millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record," the 
editorial said.

"By saying that condoms exacerbate the problem of HIV/AIDS, the Pope has 
publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on the 

During his first visit to Africa, the Pope told reporters that AIDS is a 
problem that "cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms; on the 
contrary, they increase it."

The comment ignited a firestorm of criticism from health officials, 
activists and politicians who criticised that view as unrealistic, 
unscientific and dangerous.

The Church teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage and abstinence 
are the best ways to stop AIDS. The Vatican also says condoms can lead to 
risky behaviour but many contest that view.

Health experts say there is no scientific evidence showing that condom use 
spurs people to take more sexual risks and in fact studies show that condom 
use reduces the risk of acquiring HIV infection.

The AIDS virus infects an estimated 33 million people globally, mostly in 
sub-Saharan Africa, and has killed 25 million. There is no cure. (Reporting 
by Michael Kahn)

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