Is the pope contributing to the spread of AIDS wrong? So, what's your take on this? The pope is opposed to condoms, and therefore indirectly contributes to the spread of AIDS. Economist, 20 Apr 2005. "And the refusal to condone the use of condoms has helped the spread of AIDS; the church has not only refused to change its stance, but has even promoted shoddy science purporting to show that condoms are ineffective in preventing transmission of HIV." Jurgita Zemaityte, Brussels, Economist letters, 21 Apr 2005. "Finally, the assertion that the church's teaching on contraception has contributed to many deaths is extraordinary. How can the church stand so accused when it proposes the only secure way to avoid AIDS transmission, which is through fidelity in marriage? If the church's ideas were followed, the spread of AIDS would not be the problem we have now." New Scientist, 9 April 2005. "We were disappointed that Pope John Paul II did not realise the Roman Catholic policy on condoms actually contributed to many deaths in the fight to control HIV/AIDS." Arthur Moore, Nottingham, UK, New Scientist letters, 30 April 2005. "Of course the pope and the Catholic church knew that deaths would result from their policies. According to the Bible, the 'wages of sin are death', and many right-wing Christians think that to permit the use of condoms would be to encourage sex outside marriage, or sex inside marriage that is not for its proper purpose of procreation. The logic follows that those who sin will die and, while this is perhaps not entirely desirable, some probably do not view it as an entirely bad thing either, as it serves as a warning to others of what will happen if they 'sin.'" Jack Miles, Slate.MSN.com, 19 April 2005. "The second question was whether the church would liberalize its stance on sexual morality and whether, in particular, it would soon take the step of allowing artificial contraceptivesâ€”as it came close to doing in the mid-1960s, before Humanae Vitae. That 1968 encyclical reaffirmed ultraconservative sexual morality and reversed a trend toward collegiality in church government. Today, condoms have helped to slow the spread of AIDS in Brazil and elsewhere. But in Africa, where the AIDS crisis is worst, the church is identified more than ever with the most adamant opposition to the condom. Meanwhile, church governance remains more tightly centralized than ever. The election of Joseph Ratzinger announces that in both these regardsâ€”sexual morality and church governanceâ€”the status quo will remain unchanged." And a few others thoughts: -African women have much less say in sex than in more developed countries. What one would call "rape" here is more acceptable there. -There are ways to get AIDS other than sex, especially mother to child. Does the child deserve to die for it's parents' sinful ways? So, 2 questions here, really. 1. Is the pope contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS? Nobody denies this one (well, maybe that second guy; let's say nobody with any rational logic at all). If you have a way to prevent something but refuse to use it, you're contributing. Remember, "contributing" is a lot broader than "causing." That France, Great Britain, Russia, Serbia, Austria, and Germany all contributed to starting WWI is not debatable; who caused it is. 2. If we accept (1), is it wrong for the pope to contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS? This one is obviously more contestable. I'd say it is wrong. Of course, I'm not Catholic, so I'd guess that plays a huge role (especially with the pope supposedly being infallible on morals when he speaks for the whole Church). I think letting people die is worse than "encouraging" them to have non-marital sex. If I were heavily religious, I could try to claim that both murder and adultery are in the 10 Commandments and are equally important. Bah. Nobody thinks ignorning your mother telling you to take the garbage out is a sin equal to killing someone. Also, as Jack Miles points out, the Church being opposed to condoms is very temporal. In a few years (well, most likely only after this pope, considering how conservative he is), the Church could very well accept condoms, just as it has accepted the idea that the earth revolves around the sun or that there is no physical hell or that women are not simply property. The Church hardly stands by its views forever; it adapts to meet the needs of its followers. Discussion?