After a deluge of uproar over the Pope’s comments about condoms and HIV/AIDS in Africa (that the disease “cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms: on the contrary, they increase it”), wowOwow reports that the medical journal The Lancet ran an editorial accusing the Pope of distorting the scientific evidence to fit Catholic ideology (you need to register to view the article).
They also call for the Pope to retract his comments:
Whether the Pope’s error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear. But the comment still stands and the Vatican’s attempts to tweak the Pope’s words, further tampering with the truth, is not the way forward. 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. Anything less from Pope Benedict would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates, including many thousands of Catholics, who work tirelessly to try and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide.
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wowOwow calls the backlash the “the dump-on-the-pope bandwagon,” and although it’s a disturbing turn of phrase, we’ve certainly done our part explaining why the Pope is wrong. The backlash now includes a Facebook group where users have pledged to send the Pope condoms in protest of his comments. At the moment of publication, one group calling itself “Let’s send a Condom to Pope Ratzinger!” has over 30,000 members.
The Pope’s comments were irresponsible and wrong; it only makes sense for people to expect him to make a retraction.