March 18th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Pope: Condoms aren't solution to AIDS; they make it worse

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century; or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th. On his first trip to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI said condoms are not a solution to the AIDS epidemic; rather, they make it worse.

Pope Benedict XVI believes condoms hinder the AIDS crisis.

In his first public comments on condom use, the pope told reporters that AIDS "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems." Huh?

Since becoming pope four years ago, Benedict has stressed that the church is on the front lines of the battle against AIDS; with the Vatican encouraging sexual abstinence as the way to stop the disease from spreading.

Obviously that message hasn't delivered the desired results in Africa where parts of the continent have been ravaged by AIDS. Not to mention right here in our nation's capital: a new report shows three percent of Washington D.C.'s residents have HIV or AIDS. That translates to almost 3,000 people for every 100,000 population. That figure represents a "severe epidemic." One health official says Washington's rates are higher than parts of West Africa - and "on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya."

Here’s my question to you: The pope says condoms aren't the solution to AIDS; they make it worse. Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Tim from Minnesota writes:
Talk about out of touch. Scary part is that there are countless millions of people who believe that his words are the words of God. So, in order to avoid HIV, we should not have sex, until, uh, when? After us and our partners get checked for HIV? Gimme a break!

Bill writes:
The pope should be reminded that if you don't play-a the game you shouldn't make-a the rules.

Lisa from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania writes:
Hi Jack. My husband and I are 28-year-old Catholics who voted for Obama. We both feel it is time for the Church, which we love and are devoted to, to be realistic about the current affairs of the world... As a teacher and a counselor, we both think that sex ed is important. While abstinence is definitely a key issue, and obviously the best way to avoid disease, it is just not the reality for many young people. Saying “condoms make it worse” is irresponsible.

Ann writes:
I don't take advice on dieting from overweight people, financial advice from someone who's broke, or STD prevention from someone who's celibate. The Pope is way out of his league on this one.

Mary from Goshen, New York writes:
Dear Jack, Although it isn't politically correct to side with morality these days, I have to agree with the Pope on this one. Even medical experts will tell you that abstinence is the best means of prevention when it comes to the AIDS epidemic. A person should get him/herself tested. If AIDS-free, practice abstinence. If he/she becomes involved in a sexual relationship (like maybe a marriage), have both people tested, and maintain a monogamous relationship. It may be old-fashioned, but it works! The Pope might have a little more wisdom than CNN is willing to admit.

Nelson from Somerdale, New Jersey writes:
The pope is on his way to becoming as relevant as a Republican.

J. writes:
Taking reproductive and STD advice from the pope is like taking economic advice from Bernie Madoff.

Filed under: Pope Benedict XVI
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Kevin

    Jack, maybe the pope is confusing condoms and chastity belts. That statement is ludicrous and insulting to the thousands of volunteers trying to combat an epidemic. Possibly the pope maybe thinking about a continent wide excorcism to solve the AIDS epidemic ?

    Warren, MI

    March 18, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  2. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Well Jack, the only sure way not to get AIDS is a monogamous relationship with one other monogamous person or total abstiinence. So in that regard he's right. Not very practical, but right.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  3. Mike, Orlando, FL

    I agree that condums are the solution to aids anymore than they were the solution to syphilis. That said, if I was having sex with someone who I didn't know and might be infected with either disease I'd rather be sheathed that naked. We won't solve the problem of sexually transmitted diseases until we shake the "moral" rebuke of the infected and spend some real energy to solve the human condition rather than address the religious moralisms.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  4. Queen Ester, Missouri

    How would he know, Jack?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  5. Ben in Oil City Pa.

    No Jack he is not right. When are people going to stop listening to these institution from the Bronze Age and start doing battle with issues like AIDS with 21st Century solutions, instead of superstitious rhetoric

    March 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  6. Ray, Crystal Lake, Il

    Personally I don't take any stock in anything that the Pope or the Vatican has to say. They seem to be dangerously out of touch with the reality of the world.

    The Catholic Church seems to think it's OK to protect pedophile priests & then has the gaul to push their hypocritical morals on the rest of us??

    No offense to all the good & decent Catholics in the world, but there is something seriously wrong with the leadership of your church.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  7. Christine, Edmeston NY

    Of course condoms are not THE solution to the AIDS epidemic, but making it worse? On what planet could that possibly be true? The pope's remark is so astonishing that I find it hard to believe that he said it. The last thing the Catholic Church needs right now is a Dope for a Pope, but if that's really his belief, my condolences to the Church.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  8. Karen R, El Paso TX

    Absolutely Not! Born & raised in Catholic family & school. Spent many days in the principals office for asking "Why?" Show me where it says it is a sin to use birth control. They change things in the bible to suit the times of the day but only the ones they want. Anyone heard of overpopulation or babies giving birth to babies?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  9. John, Fort Collins, CO

    The Pope would do well to contain himself to spiritual matters and let public health officials deal with the spread of AIDS. It is time to quit talking and start distributing condoms worldwide in all areas necessary. This is where the rubber meets the road.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  10. Jason Beck

    Dear Pope Benedict XVI,

    Churches that use their weight to dictate social issues makes AIDS worse. Blocking of scientific experimentation, i.e. stem cell research, has whittled our solution for AIDS protection down to a piece of latex. Now you are not even happy about it. What's next? Castration? That, ironically, might actually be beneficial to the Sunday School attendees.

    Jason B.
    Rome, Ga

    March 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  11. Carl from Citrus Heights, California

    Jack, condoms don't make the spread of aids worse compared to sex without condoms. The Pope is looking at the problem of spreading aids from the larger perspective of abstinence being the best solution to controlling the spread of aids. Condoms certainly would help curtail aids since abstinence is a dubious solution.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  12. Jerry Harris

    Appears to me that God didn't bless the Pope with very much smarts.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  13. Terry

    With all due respect!! No, the Pope is dead wrong. The worse part is that he made the statement in Africa where they need ALL the help and means available to help prevent the spread of AIDS.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  14. Karl from SF, CA

    He’s very wrong and must be a Republican. He can draw big crowds like Sara Palin, he’s as out of touch as our Congressional Republicans, he thinks abstinence is the answer and he can see Italy from the Vatican. Now I remember why I only go to Mass for weddings and funerals.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  15. James

    The condoms aren't the answer but right now they're the best chance at slowing this down. Most Africans can't afford daily food and drinks, condoms are probably towards the bottom of their list.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  16. Joseph

    What can you say? Abstinence works. Granted, no one will follow it and actually abstain from sex, but dosnt it become their problem at that point?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  17. Hannah

    People will not abstain from having sex. If we take away the condoms, we'll see just how much worse it truly becomes.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  18. Tom Harper

    The day I take sex education advice from the Pope is the same day I'll get barbeque recipes from a vegan.


    March 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  19. David Gerstenfeld

    Is he talking from experience? Next he'll be giving mariage counceling!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  20. Doreen Augusta Maine

    It just goes to show that the Catholic leadership still believes that its followers follow them blindly. Sorry, but those days are gone.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  21. Steven

    The Pope is wrong. I have the utmost respect for him and the vast amount of good that all religions do in the world. But in this age it is simply ridiculous to overlook the simple fact that a condom is an scientifically proven barrier against HIV transmission.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  22. Terry, Jackson, MS

    With all due respect!! No, the Pope is dead wrong.

    The worse part is that he made the statement in Africa where they need ALL the help and means available to help prevent the spread of AIDS.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  23. Kyle in Boston MA

    This is just another example of how out of touch the Church is with the rest of the world.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  24. Jeff in Cleveland

    The Pope is obviously basing his views on the fact that Catholic priests practice celibacy....oh, wait, maybe that's not accurate! With all the sex scandals involving the Catholic church, what can possibly lead Benedict to believe that celibacy works?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  25. Mark

    Of course he's right. He's the Pope, he's infallible...right?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  26. Ed

    The pope is definately wrong. It is about time we have a forward thinking Pope, who values human life ahead of his religion. Thanks.


    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  27. Natalie

    How can distributing condoms make AIDS worse? Condoms themselves protect two people from transmitting any types of diseases between each other. Whether you use them or don't use them, they do not have any harmful effects... Condoms in every sense can help the problem, if someone chooses to use them.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  28. sheila from New York

    The Catholic Church is out of step and mired in fantasy. I don't know how someone who is celibate can claim to know what sexually active people should or should not do.

    What the Church should be promoting is responsible behavior and committed relationships. They should not be promoting unrealistic scenarios that will not be followed by the overwhelming majority of people.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  29. Anne

    I am a Catholic and am increasingly appalled at what is happening in the church. The Pope is shockingly out of touch and moving the church back into the dark ages. I do not think Jesus would approve.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  30. sarah graves

    As a catholic I have not always agreed with the position of the Pope, however in this case I am inclined to agree. Obviously practicing safe sex with condoms is not working, based upon the numbers you just reported. I believe that abstinence may be the only answer to begin to control the AIDS epidemic.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  31. Carol Penetang

    The Condom remark ranks right up there with his comment on the Washing Machine being the best thing to happen to women. The Vatican should move up to the 21st century, but I am afraid that won't happen while a MAN is Pope.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  32. Catherine of Easley, S.C.

    The pope is correcto. If condoms was the answer, then people with aids would be improving. A Declining.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  33. Howard From Las Vegas

    Sex has been around since creation. You can't stop it. If the Pope can't get his Priests to stop having sex how does he expect to get the African Contenent to stop. It's not like they can amuse themselves by watching The Situation Room!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  34. Jesse Greenleaf

    Obviously all of this is hogwash. While condoms do help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, I do not think that they are the sole answer to preventing it. I believe the Church has a moral obligation to stand on as it has done for several hundred years. However I think a combination of sexual education teaching both about condoms and abstinence is the way to go. This is what will, in the end, decrease the number of cases around the world.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  35. Cecile Dobelbower

    I am a Catholic and I think the pope is dead wrong. He is attempting to impose his values on Africa. That's just plain wrong. A remark such as his regarding condoms is clearly lacking in intelligence. How very sad!
    Cecile D.
    Richland Hills, Texas

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  36. Stephen MacLeod

    It has truly made me have a paradigm shift in my view of good and evil.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  37. Lisa from CA

    It is really ironic how Pope Benedict can preach No Use of Condoms when his own priests could not keep to themselves. It is a medical fact that condoms do help with the reduction in spreading the Aids virus. Does this Pope even know how to read?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  38. Taner

    It is statistically and scientifically proven that use of condoms are the best known protection against HIV. Why does someone who is supposed to be speaking the will of God, the truth, to Catholics around the world denying the truth? Is the population boom of Catholics around the World by not allowing them to use condoms really more important than spreading this deadly disease and destroy millions of human lives? It is time the Vatican decides what route to follow, the one of political power or the one of TRUTH!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  39. Ravi

    Pope is just as out of touch with reality as the far right of this country. They just don't get it.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  40. Sheldon (Springfield, MA)

    The only thing that will change the AIDS problem is human behavior. Get you and your partner tested and stay faithful to each other.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  41. Katie

    The Pope is way off base. Isn't it time we replace someone who so sorely misrepresents reality and is outdated? Perhaps the position of "Pope" needs to be rescinded.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  42. Sheri Mercado


    The Pope is right.

    Have been married 20+ years and my husband and I have
    been faithful to one another.

    Neither of us have AIDS.

    No need for condoms.

    Get married and be faithful.


    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  43. John Hopkins

    How can a church that burned thousands at the stake during the Inquisition and took 50 years to apologize for the sodomy and rape of tens of thousands of American children have any say on behaviour in the world?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  44. W G Wagner

    Consistency is the hobgoblin of foolish popes – and all who let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Latex helps.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  45. Heather G

    I guess this doesn't surprise me coming from someone who has not taken a sex ed course or biology 101 class before. This is complete ignorance on his part. Also shows how completely out of touch those are at the top.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  46. Lisa

    Maybe he doesn't quite understand how these things (condoms)work? I think the Vatican needs to offer a crash course in basic sex 101 and His Holy Hat needs to attend!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  47. Joanie Massimini


    If the pope can't get his priests to practice abstinence how are mere mortals supposed to comply?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  48. Hiram Smith

    On this matter, the Pope is exactly right, says this Baptist.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  49. Gundra Kucy

    But from his perspective probably- because what does a Pop- or any trustworthy catholic priest knows of the body-part which inflicts AIDS?
    Maybe he's under the impression that condoms are water-carriers, and thus- absolutely!- making the AIDS situation worse....

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  50. DrMSW in Cincinnati

    Of course he is right ... he is the representative of God on Earth ... that makes him right, right? Errrr ... Popes have always been right in the past ... right? Right?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  51. Mazi

    I think the pope has a point, but his choice of words are based in the stone age. a cobination of abstinance, education, codems and research is the only way to get this epidemic under control. you cant just say dont have sex. sex is how we reproduce. we as a people will always have sex we just need to do it more responsibly!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  52. Martha

    OK now you've gone too far!!! Stay out of my bedroom and all others' bedrooms in Africa and around the world!!!!!! Of course only abstinence is the answer to prevent AIDS, but to say condoms are making the problem worse is absolutely absurd!! I for one am sick of the Pope and the Catholic church having the gall to tell ANYONE what to do!!! Clean your own house out first!!!!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  53. Patrick

    Encouraging Africans, who live in areas of such high AIDs rates, not to wear condoms is one of the most hideously irresponsible things that a human can say. Relious tolerance is one thing, but this borders on out and out murder.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  54. Jerry

    Yes Jack, I agree with the pope. Condoms are not the solution to the Aids epidemic, Abstinence is the only solution. Many people can get aids by using condoms, they do nothing to prevent STD's.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  55. Marquis Ard

    The pope clearly dosent know anything because if he didi he wouldn't be telling people that condoms are bad but he would be punishing the priests that sexual assault kids everyday first settle your bad business at home then worry abut condoms in africa

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  56. Rich Wright - NC

    The pope is right. The condoms are likely handed out with the tag, "these will protect you from AIDs, with no real education about HIV/AIDs. The gun is loaded baby, just pull the trigger. Like most everything else, it's all about education and communication.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  57. Alice in Hendersonville NC

    The Pope is not giving accurate information. He should be saying that abstinence will fully protect you from HIV/AIDS and other STDs, but if you do have sexual contact, always use condoms to protect yourself and your partner, because love does not harm the beloved.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  58. Kevin Black

    Jack – I would sure like to know how many condoms were given out in Washington D.C. Sure does not seem like that worked there. It seems to me that anything has worked.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  59. Karina

    With all due respect to the pope, this is by far one of the least intelligent comments I've heard in quite a while. Distributing condoms would obviously decrease the chance of HIV/AIDS in Africa. I think what the Pope was trying to say was that condoms would encourage people to have sex, however, abstinence is unrealistic. In my opinion, I think people should stop suggesting it and be coming up with better protection and hopefully, one day a cure and prevention.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  60. gail fielder


    As a practicing catholic and a retired health care worker I am embarrassed by the statement made by Benedict the XVI. As leader of the largest church worldwide he needs to get his facts straight before making statements.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  61. Omar J from Pittsburgh, PA

    Jack, I only have 1 question; how the heck does the Pope know anything about condoms? I am raising both my eyebrows.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  62. Ryan, Houston, Texas

    No, the Pope is blatantly incorrect. There is no evidence to suggest that condom use actually increases the likely hood that an individual will contract HIV. The same can't be said for risky sexual practices but that's a discussion for another day.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  63. Shawn Vancouver, BC Canada

    The church needs to stop living in the past and get with the times. if they honestly think abstinence is a cure to the urge of love that he is surely mistaken.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  64. Ken in NC

    Before making a statement like that, with all due respect to the POPE, he should seek the advice of someone with more experience.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  65. Lisa

    Hi Jack,
    My husband and I are 28 year old Catholics who voted for Obama. We both feel it is time for the Church, which we love and are devoted to, to be realistic about the current affairs of the world when it comes to young people and what they face each day. As a teacher and a counselor, we both think that sex ed is important. While abstinence is definitely a key issue, and obviously the best way to avoid disease, it is just not the reality for many young people. Saying something like condoms make it worse, is irresponsible. Let's give our students and children all of the information, all of the options out there, and help them to make the best and smartest choices for their lives and futures. There is enough false and irresponsible advertising and information out there for them to see- we shouldn't be adding to it. Like it or not, condoms certainly don't make AIDS worse. I am disappointed in the Pope's comments today.
    Lisa from Bethlehem, PA

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  66. Ryan

    Of course condoms help prevent AIDS. Next thing you know the Pope will try to convince us there's a god.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  67. Dick Mills

    Is the Pope wrong?? My question is what has the Pope ever been right about? When you have a self-deluded group of people who happily believe fairy tales, and actively construct new ones to support their preconceived notions, then how can anyone ever expect them to embrace the truth? Especially when that truth in inconvenient to their contrived beliefs.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  68. Jay, Boston, MA

    Hey Jack,

    The pope giving advice on sex is like a blind man giving directions.


    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  69. Jim Vandelly

    The Pope is saying "Just Say No." Haven't we heard this before by Nancy Reagan regarding drug use?
    As a retired high school government teacher, my reaction to the Pope's remarks is that they are as naive as putting a sign on the boys' bathroom saying "NO SMOKING."
    The history of human behavior proves that we do not always do what we should do. People experiment with drugs. They have unprotected sex, They smoke. So my advice to the Pope is to "Just Say LESS, and leave public health to those who know what they are talking about."

    Jim V.
    Centreville, Virginia

    March 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  70. Aimee McHale

    No, the Pope is not right ... he's wrong. Dead wrong. Surely condoms will not end the AIDS pandemic, but they do protect people from transmission. The single biggest risk factor for contracting HIV in many parts of Africa is simply being a married woman who sleeps with her own husband. It is time that the Pope gave up the charade – you can't oppose condom use to prevent HIV transmission and still call yourself "pro-life." What a joke!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  71. Jesse Benedick

    Come on Jack... You're asking a question you already know the answer to. This Pope's logic is about the equivalent to a nursing home patient with alzheimers. Saying he's living in the 13th century is an understatement...

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  72. AJ

    I think that the Pope is looking at the situation with a narrow viewpoint. No matter how much the church preaches abstinence, people will continue to have sex before marriage. Encouraging condom use is going to encourage sex of course, but at least it's safe sex.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  73. Mark

    Condoms do protect from HIV unless you are IV drug user. I think the pope is trying to say that the use of condoms creates more opportunity for people to forget the condom just this once. What we need is a return to values by practicing abstinence until marriage. HIV testing should also be performed as a standard marriage blood test.
    The use of condoms isn't bad... it just gives more opportunity to forget one when you really need it.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  74. Kevin P.


    These comments from the Pope simply show how inept, incompetent, and out of touch he is. I guess the catholic church also doesn't have a problem with child molestation. He's Clueless.

    –Kevin P.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  75. Thomas

    The notion that abstinence only works is completely absurd. Experience shows us this, as even the United States has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy. Why don't you ask Sarah Palin's daughter on the benefits of abstinence only education? Denying condom aid to those in Africa is catastrophic, given that fact that rape and other sexual assault is so prevalent.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  76. EricB

    Absolutely he's right, abstinence is the only 100% protection. You can't get AIDs from sex if you don't have sex. Condoms just promote promiscuity which increases ones susceptibility to AIDs.

    EB from TX

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  77. Keith ( CHICAGO)


    This is just one of the many reason I am no longer a practicing Catholic. They still think as if this were the middle ages, and have not adapted to modern Ideas and Philosophies. Just what we need, someone of his stature telling people who don't have access to the education most of the rest of the world has, that condoms won't help, and make it worse. Way to keep the AIDS pandemic spreading Benedict! What a clown!

    Keith ( Chicago)

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  78. Howard

    The Pope is Right! Condoms have been made available in African countries for decades, yet the incidence of HIV/Aids has been rising ever since. Condoms signal its OK to have illicit sex. They have the condoms, but they either fail or don't get used!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  79. Joe

    He's right!! Condoms don't help the AIDS epidemic, and yes, it can can make it worse by spreading the diease. Condoms DONT protect against AIDS and if people if Africa or elsewhere dont understand that information then CONDOMS CAN make the problem worse. At least thats what I got from His words.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  80. Joe from Mankato

    Instead of questioning the Pope, we should try to end the culture of promiscuity and overpermissiveness which has contributed to the AIDS epidemic.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  81. David from Woodside, CA

    No, the Pope is completely wrong. It's official (and sad), Jack, the Vatican is completely out of touch with reality and it is fast becoming irrelevant to today's world.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  82. Dorothy Hinkey

    Jack, with all due respect to the Pope, what does he know about the use of condoms?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  83. April from Whittier, CA

    Ideally, the Pope's ban would work. However, the Pope does not take into account that Africans are at a risk for more than "sin", they are at risk for a lifetime of suffering. This demonstrates the disconnect between the Catholic church and global citizens.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  84. Joe Needham MA

    Ask the Pope what would Jesues do, he would not want people to suffer needlessly.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  85. Lyn

    Your smug prejudment notwithstanding, of course he's right, and the statistics you cite from Africa and the District of Columbia where condoms are handed out like jellybeans is pretty strong proof. As my father used to say, "Play with fire and you get burned." Condoms give HIV carriers a false sense of security and alone (key word) won't stop the spread of AIDS. Like it or not, personal morality and disciplined behavior are also required.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  86. Guy Chevrette

    seems catholic church is promoting genoside on africa/how ignorant can they get

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  87. Darrell in Iowa

    As a person living with HIV/AIDS would you please pass a message on to his graciousness the Pope. A condom would have prevented me from being unable to work and constantly ill from medication side effects. A condom would have prevented me from attempting suicide when I was once is complete despair. A condom would have saved several of my friends life.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  88. Kimberly Arndts

    This is another example of the absolute irrelevance that is driving people away from organized religion. People through the ages have looked to the church for guidance, and instead they are being told in so many different ways that they can't be good catholics and reconcile that with the simple facts of modern day survival .

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  89. William C. Weaver

    Adaptation Rules. The more we eat, the fatter we get, and the more we want to eat. No one expects us to lose our sex drive, but it wouldn't hurt to bridle it just a tad. Abstenance isn't the answer, but neither are condoms. How about we just practice a little good common sense and conservancy.
    Bill in Louisville

    March 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  90. Jeff Scott

    What? Like we need advice on on safe sex from the head of the largest pedophile network in history. Did he say that with a straight face? Just because he has to be "abstanaint" doesn't mean we have to..............

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  91. Jay From New York

    Jack – you laugh at abstinence, act cynical towards the Pope and act as if condoms ARE the answer. Well, they have been handed out in schools, and they are handed out like candy all over the place. Ditto for the AIDS education in the schools. So how do you explain the rampant AIDS infections you cited in our nations capital ? Don't be so smug .. whats your answer ?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  92. hd

    Something is wrong with this pope. What does he know about condoms, at least officially? He is so outdated that there is not much news about him except when he opens his mouth to add salt on fire.
    new yorl, ny

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  93. Alex

    This is one thing that I agree with the Pope on.
    Thou shalt not commit adultery, also means lust.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  94. Mike

    monogamist don't need a condum for safe sex

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  95. Alberto Garcia

    The Pope is wrong and right at the same time. Abstinence is the best way to avoid AIDS and other STDS but I have no idea what he means when he says that condoms will aggravate the problem. I think this pope needs to wipe the dust off his brain and start thinking rationally.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  96. Mike Bruic

    Yeah, the Catholic Church is right on the AID’s issue. By the way, aren’t they also the ones who told us the world is flat and persecuted scientist as witches as late as the 1400 hundreds?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  97. Terik Ororke

    We are fond of saying: guns do not kill people, people using them do. It is a matter of responsibility. Likewise, condoms will never prevent the AIDS epidemic. Responsible people will. People must make their won decisions but act in responsible ways. Many choose not to.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  98. MaryO

    This sounds a lot like the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" arguement. Human beings are going to have sex. They have since the beginning of time... Let them have protection!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  99. Brant

    Yes he's absolutely correct. And the sun does in fact orbit the earth. Times haven't changed much since 1633 for this Catholic church.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  100. Marie

    Maybe the Pope thinks everyone should be celibate like priests take a vow to be – HA! His comments are so ridiculous that there is no reasonable way to respond.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  101. Georges

    The Pope is definitely wrong. Condoms do both: protection against unwanted pregnancy and protection against STD including AIDS. Does the Pope have a budget to deal with the catastrophe that can result by banning the use of condoms?

    New York City

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  102. Maribeth

    This statement by the pope is why I am a non-practicing catholic. It"s right up there with the rythm method of birth control. My mother had us all under this method. The rythm was every 15 months she was having a child, six to be exact. This Pope needs to come out of the dark ages.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  103. Joshua Shelby NC

    I just figured it out. The Pope must be one of the previous AIG Board members…or was it one of Bush’s Staff Members. If not he would have fit right in! Wow, none is so blind as he who will not see. Isn’t that the old adage.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  104. nick

    condoms do not make aids worse if anything they are your only protection when sexually active.The thing making aids worse is the fact that its spreading like wildfire because WE DONT TALK ABOUT IT!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  105. lackluster musings

    Not only is the Pope wrong about this issue, but I do not think he should be commenting on AIDS prevention. He obviously is not a doctor or a public health official in any way. I do not see how he is qualified to discuss methods for reducing HIV and AIDS in Africa. That being said, lack of condoms is only going to make this situation worse. People are not going to stop having sex.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  106. Sally Fish

    Isn't it time to find out what is really going on?
    There are many doctors, scientists, healthcare workers and scholars whose research have led them to question if HIV is actually the cause of AIDS. There are over 60 factors that can cause a person to be labeled "HIV positive." This includes simply being pregnant or having an illness that create foreign proteins to be found in the blood. HIV has yet to be properly isolated. Therefore, no, I don't think condoms can help AIDS, and I feel that the drugs administered to people designated as "HIV positive" are far worse than the illness they are supposed to treat. Go, Papa, go!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  107. Gerry Goggins

    AIDS is not a moral issue it is a disease. If there was a vaccine to prevent AIDS no one would oppose using it. The Pope is wrong about condoms. He should stick to moral issues and stay out of preventive medicine. Incidentally, I am a practicing Catholic.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  108. Caryl

    Aids and overpopulation are two of the biggest public health issues we face. The Catholic church is on the wrong side of these matters. They prey on the poor and uneducated who are superstitious and fearful and convince them to tell their priest everything. The church has to power to persuade these poor people to reduce their family size for better health over all. But the church wants MORE MEMBERS TO CONTRIBUTE their meager assets to their coffers. They give religion a bad name!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  109. Michael Donovan

    Condoms are not meant as a solution to AIDS. They are used for the prevention of the spread of AIDS from people that have it and don't know it because of the lack of the ability to be tested or people that know they have it and still would like to participate with sex. Condoms save millions of people from getting AIDS and other STD's and for the Pope to claim this is highly irresponsible and can prevent others from using a rather inexpensive item to save millions of people's lives and well being.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  110. Trey

    This is the most ludicrous thing i have ever heard. Condoms are the most effective method of preventing HIV and AIDS that we have today. What it comes down to is that many religious groups have backwards views when it comes to sex and sexuality. Until we overcome these medieval attitudes towards our bodies, we will continue to be stuck in the mud when it comes to preventing STD's.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  111. Ann Anderson

    I don't take advice on dieting from overweight people, financial advice from someone who's broke, or STD prevention from someone who's celibate. The Pope is way out of his league on this one.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  112. Tom B.

    The Pope is right!
    The high rate of HIV in Washington proves his point! We live in a nation in which condoms are plentiful-free for the taking. They sure haven't done anything to lower the HIV rate in Washington. Condoms offer limited protection.
    It is all about education, respect, and placing sexual behavior in the proper context of a committed relationship called marriage. As long as we ignore that, all the condoms in the world will not alleviate HIV!
    The HIV rate in Washington proves it.

    Have some respect for the Holy Father-he speaks the hard truth that no one wants to hear.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  113. JD

    Sounds like the Pope doesn't even know what a condom is. How can anyone expect an organization who moves child molesters from parish to parish to give any advice....let alone advice on sexual matters. Abstenance?...they can't even keep their own priests in line!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  114. Jennifer, Chicago

    This grossly out-of-touch attitude is the impetus needed to eraticate organized religion from the globe. No wonder, in a recent study, that organized religion is dropping drastically–until religious leaders recogonize the humanness in humans, religious will continue to die away. Sex never has, nor will it ever be, something controllable by religious or political leaders. We've been doing it for centuries!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  115. Jak

    I believe in abstinence but if you don't do that how else are you going to keep from getting AIDS. Condoms are the only other alternative.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  116. Stan

    I know this Pope was born in the night, but I didn't Know he was born last night. He is so far out of reality that I wonder if he is senile like anyone else who believes what this old man is saying.
    Huntingdon Valley, PA

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  117. Joshua from Tucson, Arizona

    I hold the Pope personally, morally responsible for the deaths of every person who dies from HIV/AIDS because their spiritual leader told them G-d doesn’t want them to use condoms.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  118. Betty L. McGinnis

    Condoms don't spread the disease....unprotected sexual activity does. If abstinence education isn't decreasing sexual activity, then, by default, abstinence education is spreading the disease.

    BL McGinnis

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  119. Brian

    The Catholic religion (and I am Catholic) believes that the Pope is considered to be infallible. This Pope is giving us another example of how incorrect that belief is.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  120. Priyanka sharma

    That comment goes to show that religion and science are poles apart! To say that condoms do not stop/cure AIDS is one thing,but to say that condoms make it worse just shows ignorance. If condoms are not helping, according to the Pope,what will?Prayer??

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  121. Kathy S. Quinn, Columbia, SC

    The Pope and other ministers and politicians should stop practicing medicine without a license. Let medical doctors practice medicine, let scientists do research, and let people take advantage of the miracles of modern science and medicine including birth control, stem cell research, and other 21st century advances in science and medicine.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  122. Stan Miller

    the catholic Church has it's own agemnda and doesn't really care about the reallity of the aids epidemic. The Varican seems like they never read the Gospels.
    That's why the catholic church is self distructing. It is it's own enemy because of it's ignorance and refusal to grow in wisdom and common sense.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  123. Frank Brown

    Condoms are widely and easily available in the U.S. Yet, your own comment on TV a few minutes ago noted the high rate of HIV
    invection in Washington D.C. If condom availability is not working in the US, our own capital city, why are you so sure it will work in
    Is it possible the pope has a point?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  124. joe in Cali

    I'm not sure if the Pope is right or not. Maybe he just means sole reliance on condoms is not the answer.

    But a question for you Jack: Would you feel "safe" having sex with someone you knew had hiv, even with a condom?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  125. Brian Rushfeldt


    your comments about the Popes solution to aids is very ignorant. His suggestions have not ever been tried.
    But the AIDs activists attempts have been tried – condoms and money -and they have failed – numbers prove that.
    Aren't you open to reality and a try of something different?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  126. Rachel Nicole, age 18, Laquey, Missouri

    Well Mr. Cafferty, I think the pope is very confused and wrong. Condoms are shown to help PROTECT agaisnt AIDS, not stop them; And they certainly don't make AIDS worse. He is disrespecting the thousands of people who are trying to help cure AIDS, and he is only making himself look bad in the public eye. He needs to keep to religious matters and let the hired professionals speak about public health.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  127. David Baltimore Maryland

    The Pope is ultimately correct. Telling people to go ahead and have sex with someone who has a deadly infectious disease as long as they wear a condom is just stupid. Thats like telling a person they can hug someone with ebola as long as they wear a mask.
    The problem is that the Pope is trying to justify it on moral grounds. He is right, but for the wrong reason!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  128. eva

    Ask Pope if he knows what the condom is ?
    How can he hold any authority by making comments like that?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  129. Johnny

    He is right Jack.

    What the Pope meant to say was that condoms are not 100% effective and that the continual use of them actually does contribute to the spread of AIDS. Think about it, the 2/3% chance of failure actually means that there is a 2/3 % chance of someone getting AIDS. The Pope is like Joe Biden, he does make sense when he speaks, you just got to know how to listen him.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  130. Mike Thompson

    Why am I not surprised Jack? This is just another flawed idea held by the Catholic Church. As a Catholic myself, this comment by Pope Benedict is yet another reason why I am not actively practicing my faith. Add this foolish comment to a growing list of idiocy which includes anti-abortion even in the case of incest and rape, anti-death penalty for the most aggregious of crimes, the ban on women as priests and the sex abuse cover-up. At this time I am embarrassed to be a Catholic.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  131. S.B.

    How long is the Catholic Church going to allow this backward type of thinking and flat out ignorance of the truth about how and why AIDS is transmitted? Saying that condoms wont stop its spread is a slap in the face to those people it afflicts. It's appalling that the Pope can make such a statement while people are dying this very second. Would he go to parts of Africa or here in the US and hold the children/babies with AIDS and look their mothers in the eye and say no condoms for you? Unbelievable.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  132. Chris

    Being in the community health field, I cringe every time I hear societal views getting in the way of effective public health practice. While condoms are not the sole solution or answer to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, here or abroad, they're certainly more effective than doing nothing at all! The Catholic church, the general public, and parents in particular need to give up the concept of abstinence as the "gold standard" for sexual behavior. It's not working, it's not what's happening, and it's not what is going to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I understand the Pope and the Catholic church have a message to convey, but at what point does the message become completely obsolete?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  133. Chantal

    Absolutely ludicrous! The Pope cannot be serious. People are going to have sex. Why don't we begin to start teaching people how to be safe in their actions instead of telling them to completely give up intercourse. The Catholic church preaches procreation and preaches the under use of birth control. Condoms work! Preach that!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  134. William Chiquelin

    Having loved my religion for 64 years, I find the pope's comment out of touch with the 21 century. As I have found the church out of touch in the 20 century. Sooner or later men or woman besides 80 year old will run the chuch and maybe we will have an enlighted age

    March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  135. Sheila Camp

    The Pope is and probably always has been out of touch with reality. He has lost most if not all thinking Catholics and only has the uneducated to preach too.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  136. Scott in Phoenix

    What 's "breath-taking" Jack is your suggestion that a latex barrier is more powerful than the human brain. Set aside the Pope's mission to support all life in all of its stages. The Pope is messaging that people make decisions to have sex first...that's where it starts....and we all need to more responsible than assuming HIV/AIDS will not happen to us if we engage in risky behavior. People cannot abdicate morality to the quality control risk of a condom. Thank you.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  137. Bill G

    I tend to leave the Church alone, or they cry persecution, but with this Pope Benedict is amplifying the myth that abstinence only education works against the spread of AIDS. This is doing great harm to those who follow his dictum, when he could be saving lives. Doesn't speak well for "pro-life" movements who outright lie about condoms. They're not perfect, but they're better than ignorance (which is what I sincerely hope brought the Pope to this position).

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  138. Paul Musick

    Jack , for those who believe the holocaust was a hoax, condoms spread aids, the rest of us don't ignore common sense.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  139. Peggy Lehman

    It is an outrage for the Pope to behave in this fashion. Is there separation of Church and sanity? It is completely irresponsible for him to proclaim that using condoms will not help stop the spread of AIDS. There are too many people who listen to this and take it as the absolute word of God. This is not only hurting the African Continent but the entire world and he should be asked to refrain from such comments. Ignorance is not bliss!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  140. Pat in Georgia

    The Pope seems to think that instead of condoms, everyone should just "let a smile be your umbrella." How sad that a person with enormous clout has taken such a naive and irresponsible position.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  141. gerald

    The Catholic Church is permanently obsessed with sex. God forbid that people should have healthy sex relationships. Research has shown that condoms are effective in inhibiting the spread of HIV and AIDS. The Pope is concerned that condoms promote promiscuity. Long live promiscuity! Only do it safely with condoms.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  142. Brian Seward

    Jack, I am from N Vancouver Canada, I agree with the Pope. a condom gives People a false sense of security.

    The real solution is to get Homosexuals and cross sex people to give up there practices, A Hard Sell I am afraid, But if you have a cafe that has an outbreak of salmonella do you just treat the folks and leave the cafe open for business? No you close it. Same anology,

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  143. Dawn - New York City

    I was raised Catholic but retired several years ago. The Pope's statement about condoms and AIDs is simply ludicrous. Maybe he should spend more time preaching sexual abstinence to his priests who are molesting young boys, rather than spouting ridiculous advice about something that is clearly out of his element. The more things change. The more the Catholic church remains the same.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  144. Jeanne in simi Valley CA

    As a Catholic I am ashamed of the Pope's stand against
    condoms to combat HIV Aids in Africa.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  145. Roger

    Absolutely not! As with all religious leaders, the pope is hopelessly out of touch with reality. What does he base this on? Science? Right!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  146. Mary

    The Pope is so wrong. I've been told that it doesn't matter what he says because Catholics in the U. S. don't really listen to him. We need to listen and we need to be outraged because he is our face to the world and his comments and actions are reckless, dangerous and potentially conflict provoking. He does not speak for me!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  147. Chris

    If condoms dont help the AIDS crisis than I don't know what does, sorry but abstince is a waste of time and doesn't work. The only way to prevent AIDS is use of birth control like condoms. If you still believe abstince works I remember a report by NPR that teens in the U.S are just as likely to have sex even if they take a virginity pledge, I don't see how it's different anywhere else.
    Denver CO,

    March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  148. Chantal of Atlanta, GA

    Absolutely ludicrous! The Pope cannot be serious. People are going to have sex. Why don’t we begin to start teaching people how to be safe in their actions instead of telling them to completely give up intercourse. The Catholic church preaches procreation and preaches the under use of birth control. Condoms work! Preach that!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  149. Johnny

    He is right Jack.

    What the Pope meant to say was that condoms are not 100% effective and that the continual use of them actually does contribute to the spread of AIDS. Think about it, the 2/3% chance of failure actually means that there is a 2/3 % chance of someone getting AIDS. The Pope is like Joe Biden, he does make sense when he speaks, you just got to know how to listen to him.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  150. Shawn Vancouver, BC Canada

    The church needs to get in with the times. condoms contribute to the prevention of HIV/AIDS. and if he thinks that being abstinent is a cure to the urge of love then he is surely mistaken.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  151. Ryan

    Leave it to the Catholic Church to condemn an entire population to death... again. No, using a condom with my wife – who got AIDS at birth – surely wont stop me from getting the disease. No, using one of the most effective methods of stopping STD's – a 99.9% effeciency as boasted by the condom companies – surely wont stop me from getting the disease. The Pope is out of his mother loving mind. The Pope and the people that spout this BS might actually have a better sense of what they speak about if they actually got some now and then... Speaking of which, I wonder if all those Priests used condoms when molesting all those childen...

    March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  152. Miss Julie

    The Pope's comments do not surprise me. The 'roman church' in general has been anti-science for decades, which was noted in the DaVinci Code. Having known several RC couples, they simply have ignored the church's stupidity on this subject. Re the problem in Africa, yes, condoms would be a help but the cultural prejudice would be even harder to deal with. Women in general are to be used sexually by any male and considered worthless, just as Islamic women are. Why do you think women are raped–to show male power and give them an excuse to give up their lives with bombs. What a rude awakening when they finally reach the other side. Miss Julie, Largo, FL.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  153. Roman Deutsch, Butler, PA

    No the Pope is not right...First and foremost that act of having sex is human nature and unless the Pope can make mankind stop from having sex well He's got to open his eyes a little more. Secondly, not all people can be as holy as thou. Abstinence can be taught but the fact that it is human nature to have sex makes abstinence all the more out of reach for most people. Aids is out of control and condoms is just a stop gap measure. You will not stamp out Aids until rapist, murderers and just out right animals that are suppose to be humans are stopped and their government leaders express a will to change their culture.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  154. Jenny

    The pope is in no way, shape or form right. Even avoiding the topic of whether abstinence itself is moral, there is no way to enforce such a ridiculous notion on various masses of people who do not share his religion, stunted views, or luxurious lifestyle. Short of extracting hormones or neutering every individual to forestall sexual urges, there is no way to commit every person to abstinence. The pope has given a terrible name to institutionalized religion – a level of ignorance Christianity as a religion does not deserve to bear.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  155. W. Ogendi

    He is right, we must change ways we are behaving, I'm from Africa and I know exactly how people don't care to have safe sex. So education about desease is better than condom

    March 18, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  156. regina Romano

    If I were a healty aid or doctor working in Africa with the most vulnerable people I would be furious . It,s irresponsible and criminal what the people said. That,s why I don,t go to church anymore.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  157. Alex M. Kamara, Jr

    I am not trying in anyway to be disrespectful to the authority of the Pope. I think the Pope just had no idea of the essence of condoms. Condoms do help in alleviating HIV-AIDS big time! However I think the Pope was trying to say abstainnce is the best deal not condoms, please forgive him for not sending the most accurate rhetoric on condoms...his informant should have done better.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  158. Noreen Barbe

    When the Pope starts taking financially care of the orphans and grand mothers who have to assume responsibility when the parents die of aids only then can he say ABSTINENCE is the way. Condoms and teaching the perils of unprotected sex are the only answer with this situation. He's giving a green light for murder otherwise. What will be his reward when he's at the gates of heaven and has to answer for his part in these deaths. Give it up, and become part of the 21st century.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  159. nenko

    Jack,I don't believe anything said by a person whose mind is completely clouded by religious dogma and unscientific reasoning.These are the same people who told us that Limbo was real only to come out after so many years and say it did not.The pope should do his best to try to explain theology from the bible and not venture into territory he knows nothing about.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  160. Scott W

    No! The pope is not right. I go to a catholic school and this is one of many stubborn comments comming from the catholic church that I hear all the time. Unfortuanitely, the Church knows that they are wrong, but they won't admit it, because they are to stubborn and set in their ways to change.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  161. Tim


    It's an unfortunate and even sad state of affairs for the world's Catholics when their leader reveals himself to be such an ignorant man. Is it any wonder that educated and truly enlightened people are moving away from the uninformed and dogmatically handicapped icons of religion.

    Tim from Washington, D.C.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  162. Gerry Green

    Condoms do not prevent the spread of the aids virus. The aids virus is much smaller than sperm, for which the condom was invented. The difference can be compared to a basketball (sperm) to a bb (aids virus) It is a fallacy to think a condom will prevent aids. Your numbers prove this... the aids virus is spreading and the misinformation about condoms is as well. Shame on you for perpetuating it.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  163. Mike, Northern NJ

    As a Catholic, I'm embarrassed by his remark. He should stick to the spiritual well-being of his flock.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  164. Williox

    I am a Registered Nurse from Cameroon the country that the Pope is visiting and I see some sense in what the Pope is saying.
    Jack please research this; Most condoms are made from latex and latex mhave pores that are thousand times bigger than a virus.
    If HIV is a virus, then it is possible for thousands of the to cross the pores of those cheap latex condoms especially in such an environment of much friction and pressure. Zillions of condoms have been shiped to Africa, but the situation is not getting better. More than 50% of AIDS transmission in Africa is by poor practices like using one blade in a cultural ceremony to cut the whole village or using one blade to circumcise the entire village in a ceremony. This is the Pope, not a politician. His inspiration is devine.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  165. Mary

    I agree with the Pope 100%. Show me one place where pushing the use of condoms has decreased the very promiscuous sexual behavior that has caused the rampant spread of HIV/AIDs.
    Why can't you even fathom the possibility of people exhibiiting self-control and self-respect?
    The West is paying for its moral bankrupcy; why are we insisting on forcing it on Africa? Let's stop acting like big bullies who use coercive measures via foreign aid, both directly from our government and through the UN agencies, to force them to contracept, sterilize, and abort their women.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  166. Matt Castello

    Really? Are you seriously doing this – the whole contraceptive debate is idiotic and needs to end! I think the world has come to a concensus that the use of cotnraceptive devices is not evil, immoral, or in some way contrary to "God's" plan for the world. I just can't help but think every time I see something like this how stupid it really is.

    I have nothing against the whole "get married and don't have affairs" argument – I support that actually, but I don't buy into the camp that says "every time you orgasm it must be in an attempt to procreate life!"

    To bad mouth condoms as "aggrevating the problem" of AIDS in Africa is just stupid. If preventative messures can be taken to stop the spread of this desieae then why shouldn't it? If one more life, one more child, one more immune system, one more family can be spared the tragedy that is HIV, then why not?

    Promote marriage and absitinence if you so desire. But also support health, life and disease prevention.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  167. Bob Consroe


    Listening to the Pope on condoms or any other sexual practice is like hiring a wine taster that doesn't drink!

    Key West

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  168. Bill_K4FLH

    Now I remember why I'm no longer a practicing Catholic!
    The church leadership is so out of tune with the real world. What do you expect from a group,the priesthood, who's members never been married, or have never had real world responsibilities!
    Hey Pope get with the program wake up this is 2009 not 1009!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  169. Rich Downs

    As a Catholic I have been in awe of the Church's archaic thinking on many modern day issues; but now with the Pope's AIDS v condom proclamation, I am dumbstruck. Abstinence does not work in one of the most literate countries in the world – the USA; it certainly cannot be expected, and does not work in one of the most illiterate areas of the world – Africa. I guess the most illiterate place in the world after all is the Vatican.

    Rich Downs

    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  170. Mary X catholic

    Cute little man, a life time of portraying celibacy, maybe he thinks everyone should be celibate. Pope should have his priests practice what he preaches. Catholic church is still in the dark ages. When tons of children in Africa are parentless because parents have died due this disease.
    The purpose of the Catholic church is actually wishing to breed more patrons, so, they will increase revenue to pay off more law suits for child molestations by priests, and add to their vast amount of exquisite art museums, while thinking the rest of the world should support orphan kids.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  171. Jim G

    This man is leading an organization that has harbored child molestors and just recently welcomed back an excommunicated ex bishop who denies the holocost. Why are you surprised that he is blinded by dogma and oblivious to the suffering of millions?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  172. Jason, Atlanta, GA

    It's like the Pope is stoking the fires of hell on earth. The best proven prevention for HIV Aids, condoms, are the next best thing to a cure we have. Someone should remind the Pope of the Vatican's record on being correct when it comes to scientific issues: Galileo is one that comes to mind. Abstinence is just a theory it never works when it comes to real life situation and obviously is not working in this case for sure. It did not even happen in Biblical times.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  173. Dan from Laguna Beach

    Aids is not a religious issue it is a human issue. What are the other major religious leaders of the world saying regarding condoms and this issue? Yes the Pope might appear out of touch but we might be surprised how many other non-secular leaders would agree with his view.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  174. R Hortie

    I guess the moderator didn't like my reference to the youth group the pope once belonged to. But in the interests of free speech I must repeat, the pope's ban on condoms is a crime against humanity

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  175. Cody

    Maybe from the Pope's point of view, he assumes anyone who uses condoms feels they are 100% secure from disease such as AIDS, and possibly sees this as a "problem". Abstinence is the sexual solution, but look at this world. It is hard to imagine an organized group anywhere doing good deeds such as safe sexual practices...

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  176. Aaron

    Uuhh.....no, he's not. How is putting on a CLEAN condom, from a air tight package, causing Africans to contract AIDS? Though it is not to say that condoms are the one and only solution to the problem, any sensible person will tell you it is an effective way to protect oneself from diseases such as AIDS. It really boils down to the fact that his faith does not believe in any form of birth control, and he is trying to influence Africans to follow that concept.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  177. Beth Vogl

    In Namibia (north of South Africa) condoms are distributed free by the government, but the nuns running a health clinic have stopped dispensing them, believing that it encourages sex among young people. So, their "barrier method" is to force the residents to try to get 35 km to the nearest town, without access to vehicles, on unpaved roads to pick them up nearly anywhere in the city – post offices, libraries, etc. I was raised as a Catholic, but this is one more example of having to completely give up common sense to stay part of their group. My idea of god doesn't include sentencing people to a horrible death when there is such a simple solution. I agree with you, Jack, they need to realize the world has changed, and if they profess the "sanctity of Life" they ought to behave as if they mean it.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  178. John Kelley

    If the Pope's ideas are wrong, simply go back to the 17th Century when Galileo was almost executed for his discoveries with the telescope. So, if they had the power they would outlaw condums. In short, the Catholic church has a very long track record of not having any sense of reality with life threatening issues. Do you really think we would have a robot on the Moon, or men on the Moon had the Catholic Church dominated the Western World since the 17th Century? No. His statements are representative of 17th century religous thought, not the 21st Century.
    This is why Catholicism is declining in the United States and other places of the world. They are not responding to the needs of people throughout the world.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  179. Matt from Canada

    In 1992, the Catholic church recognized that they were wrong in arresting Galileo Galilei for writing books about outer space.... way back in the 1600's. Maybe in 2592, the church will admit they were wrong about condoms.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  180. Prudence, Aurora, Illinois

    Since when can others tell the Pope how to interpret the Catholic faith?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  181. J. Ward from NY

    The Pope’s statements are simply reckless and are not in line with our modern epidemics, such as AIDS. While I have respect for the catholic church, it is that entity that has been responsible for the lack of advancements of preventative medicine and public health; the Pope doesn’t have to live with 20 million people infected with AIDS and given his great influence, he needs to take a moderate stance on condom use as a method of prevention and not a violation of biblical law

    March 18, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  182. Dr M

    While I am not Roman Catholic, and I am quite sure the Pope does not need my support, I do agree with his stand that condoms are not the answer to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Depending upon which study you wish to accept, condoms fail between 15 and 36 % of the time to prevent fluid transfer during intercourse-I would not call that an effective prophylaxis against disease prevention. STD's, including HIV/AIDS are a behavior-related disease group. If you do not have sex, do not use infected needles or infected blood products, or have a parent with the infection, you have an excellent chance of avoiding the disease. If you choose otherwise, you may join the millions who are infected, and contrary to what you may think, it is a life altering and a life ending disease.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  183. Barbara

    This Pope is obviously out of touch with reality. Condoms do offer some protection to the epidemic but are not the complete answer. Education of the the masses is important. Perhaps that is what the Catholic Church should be undertaking. His comment regarding abstination point out his lack of knowledge regarding sex, etc. It's just ludicrous!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  184. Joanne Jordan

    I believe the Pope has never taken a health course. Making that incorrect statement regarding condoms and AIDS leads me to believe he is senile and should step down. How do we send an email to the Pope to educate him and let him know the the world of abstinence does not exist in reality. Thank you

    March 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  185. from Portugal

    Well, condoms may be reused, that could worsen things. To prevent AIDS, what you need is great education campaigns and better economic and health situations.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  186. Margaret from Maine

    I am a practical, realistic and devout Catholic. Has anyone asked Pope Benedict if he would ban the use of gloves and other protective medical practices when he is being treated? We all know that the most simple practices prevent illness. And of course sexual intercourse is the simple act that brought all of us here. Duh!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  187. Maryann Lynne

    Sure, condoms aren't the answer. They prevent not only the transmission of AIDS, but also pregnancy. Sure, abstinence prevents transmission of AIDS & pregnancy. Unfortunately, abstinence doesn't work. If it did, Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, would not have gotten pregnant!

    I was born & remain a Catholic. I am (proudly) an Italian-American, born in the 50's, married to a Jew! I am willinging to give Pope Benedict the benefit of the doubt-forced to fight for Hitler, but likes cats. Ok, he needs to get real.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  188. Tiffany, Florida

    Jack, The pope is right, condoms aren't the solution to the problem, look, we've had the condoms for years and people are still contracting HIV. I agree that chasity would help to solve the epidemic, if you don't engage in the act, you won't contract the desease , but we also have to acknolwedge it's not a realistic solution. People are going to have sex. The solution starts with us. Saying no to someone who we aren't sure deosn't have HIV is the only way to prevent contraction.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  189. George Wilson

    Religious. fundamentalism and the Catholic church in particular has been responsible for not only the increase in aids but things like the high teenage pregancy rates.Why is the teen pregancy rate higher in the bible belt than anywhere else in the United States? We need to have comprehensibe sex education in the schools with easy access to all types of contraceptives. Abstinance courses are a waste of public money and are ineffective.

    George Wilson
    Stone Mountain, Georgia 30087

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  190. Sara

    We all know how sexually transmitted diseases are spread.
    The point is not to continue to have sex with every person who walks by you, and then hope that we can control the diseases. The point is to not have sexual relations outside of the union of marriage. Problem solved. The problem is, people don't want to stop sinning. Sin is the problem. If you want to sleep with everything that moves then prepared to get a disease. Its really not that complicated. Do you all expect a spiritual and moral leader to recommend that people continue to sin? If he did that, he wouldn't be a holy man would he?
    Just because you wrap yourselves in plastics doesn't mean that what you are doing is right. If you have to wrap yourselves in plastics that should tell you that you are doing something DANGEROUS!! Duh!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  191. michelle

    Jack as someone who is living with this disease, and who has seen and felt first hand the distruction , stigma and pain attached to this disease, I strongly advise the pope that before he opens his mouth and speak utter foolisheness, he needs to educate himself about this disease.

    I do not know what planet he is one, maybe he is just getting senile, but his statement is utter rubbish, I live with this everyday, I became infected in 1994 by my husband, who was catholic, how ironic, if i had thought that i needed to protect myself form the man I love, I would have made sure he wore a condom.

    Instead of preaching against the use of condoms, the pope needs to wake up and realise that this disease is here, and deal with it .

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  192. Thomond O'Brien

    Dear Jack,

    The Pope's comments on condoms matter only to the extent of his personal experience with same.

    Kind regards Jack ,


    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  193. Matt

    Condoms do not solve the problem but they sure do help precent the spread.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  194. j. wing

    Pope Benedict is ABSOLUTELY right; condom use is a false sense of security against the fight on AIDS. The pores of the condom are too large to stop the minute AIDS virus, ie: its like using a chain link fence to prevent blowing sand from covering a highway. As a healthcare professional, why do you think that we triple glove in an attempt to protect ourselves when caring for an AIDs patient? And, prolonged latex use leads to latex allergies.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  195. Jon from NYC

    Unfortunate souls born blind are incapable of teaching visual art to others. It's obvious. By the same token, celibate people have no business teaching anyone about sexuality. To claim that condoms make the AIDS epidemic worse is beyond irresponsible, is at best a misrepresentation of the truth and at worse an obvious lie. It accomplishes nothing other than further divide his own church. The gap between thinking Catholics who can apply logical skills to adult issues and those who continue to believe in mere dogma which patently only serves the Church's own repressive goals is growing. Does this Pope believe in democracy? If so, let future Popes be elected by practicing Catholics in an open forum.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  196. Robin

    The Pope may be right for Africa, do you think that every African has change in his pocket to pop down to the local drugstore and by a box of condoms? Just like in our country, the poorest are probably affected the most by HIV/AIDS.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  197. Donna Bertholf

    The Pope is absolutely correct. Condoms are just an excuse to go ahead and have relations without even knowing where your partner has been before you. Not only that, a condom in the hands of our children is a parent or other adult saying, "Go ahead. Have fun." Sex is just another form of recreation. The condom doesn't prevent aids it encourages sex any time anywhere with anyone. People still get aids even with a condom.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  198. Gigi

    No the Pope is not wrong...but human nature as it is ...believe it will never happen to them. Condoms have nothing to do with being smart. Human values, takes care of you as well as me.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  199. johan van roekel

    I think the Pope certainly has a point when he is pushing for sexual responsibility. You can use all the condoms you want but if you engage in casual sex time and time again then someday you will end up with a sexual transmitted disease. Not giving away condoms however will make matter far worse. There should be a balance between sexual responsibility (not sleeping with anyone with a heartbeat and a C cup), sexual education AND the use of precaution methods like condoms.

    Johan van Roekel
    Hilversum, Holland

    March 18, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  200. Jean Bainger

    Will everyone stop acting as if the Pope was a politician. He speaks to and for his followers with hopes for others to convert. As to the hopes of those who feel he is from another era. He is, and the faithful know things will not change.
    Why respond to his beliefs as if they were the dictums of government. Didn't we solve this conflict with our belief in the separation of church and state?
    Leave religious beliefs to their followers and hopefully the followers will allow government to behave in the interests of the citizens in total.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  201. Jo

    Shame, shame, shame on Pope Benedict. The church teaches that the Pope is infallible however, it has come down to a Pope attempting to fulfill his own agenda by keeping a desperate population under his thumb. Instead of informing poverty stricken nations on how to maintain a manageable birth rate and how to protect themselves in order to care for their families, he is showing complete disregard for their lives. Along with his crass and misinformed comments on the actions of his country men (and women) during World War II,, he is showing that humanity is the least of his concerns. It would appear that dogma is at the forefront of his thinking. It makes me grieve the fact that I can no longer go to my chosen faith with a trouble free heart.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  202. MB


    You only need to look at Uganda's battle with HIV/AIDS for your answer. The country used an abstinence campaign to reduce its HIV transmission rate from 18% to 5-7%, all without the promotion of condoms. Yet, the UN and other Western "relief" organizations are trying to shove its "sexually liberated" values down the throats of Ugandans. Who has the model of success then - the Catholic Church or the pro-condom crowd?

    March 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  203. Tom B.

    Years ago, I attended an AIDS workshop, where a speaker put on multiple layers of clothing, rubber gloves, face masks, goggles, etc. . . It took a long time for them to dress. They said: "This is how a laboratory worker does research in the presence of the AIDS virus."
    Next, they held up a condom: "This is how the US government wants YOU to protect yourself from the same virus."
    It was powerful!

    March 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  204. John S


    The Catholic churche's agenda is to "Build it's numbers" so it can rule the world....of course they are so against condoms. However, for the Pope to claim that condoms will make the AIDS academic worse is truly ignorant... Telling people in a third world country to practice voluntary abstanance in order to solve the worst viral epidemic in this day and age is like suggesting the "Just Say NO" solution to the Afghan heroin growing problem. It is naive and ignorant to the realities and strifes that are occurring in Africa and other third world nations that are also trying to solve their problems and help save lives.
    The Pope is obviously out of touch with reality.

    John S

    March 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  205. Kevin

    The Pope has a point that not having sex is always 100% percent effective in preventing HIV and with Condoms there a slight risk of infection if there is a malfunction. Catholic Priest should go all over Africa spreading their abstinence message while handing out condoms. Then we will have education for all involved.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm |