Pope’s condom comments latest chapter in sensitive church discussion

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration that distribution of condoms only increases the problem of AIDS is the latest and one of the strongest statements in a simmering debate inside the church.

The pope was speaking to journalists aboard his flight to Cameroon March 17, and he was asked whether the church’s approach to AIDS prevention — which focuses primarily on sexual responsibility and rejects condom campaigns — was unrealistic and ineffective.

The pope framed his answer in terms of the church’s service to those with AIDS and its efforts to promote what he called a “humanization of sexuality” that includes the elements of fidelity and self-sacrifice.

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In Africa, pope says Gospel is answer to continent’s problems

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Yaounde, Cameroon, March 17, for his first visit to Africa. (CNS/Finbarr OReilly, Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Yaounde, Cameroon, March 17, for his first visit to Africa. (CNS/Finbarr O'Reilly, Reuters)

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (CNS) — Arriving in Africa, Pope Benedict XVI said the church’s message of hope and reconciliation was sorely needed by a continent suffering disproportionately from poverty, conflict and disease.

At a welcoming ceremony March 17 in Yaounde, the pope said he was making his first visit to Africa to respond to the many men and woman who “long to hear a word of hope and comfort.”

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Pope, on plane, says church can help Africa address its problems

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO CAMEROON (CNS) — Making his first trip to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI said the Catholic Church can help bring answers to the continent’s chronic problems, including poverty, AIDS and tribalism.

Speaking to reporters aboard his Alitalia chartered jet March 17, the pope strongly defended the church’s efforts to fight AIDS and said condom distribution only made the problem worse.

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