YAOUNDE, Cameroon — The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, briefed reporters in Cameroon today on Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks on condoms and AIDS prevention, made on the papal plane yesterday.
The spokesman didn’t add much to what the pope had said, though there seemed to be an effort to explain succinctly why the pope said so bluntly that condom distribution was not, in his opinion, the proper response.
A few minutes ago the Vatican put out a statement from Father Lombardi with the essential points of his briefing. Here’s our translation:
Regarding the reaction provoked by words of the pope on the problem of AIDS, the director of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi, clarifies that the Holy Father has reaffirmed the position of the Catholic Church and the essential elements of its commitment in combatting the terrible scourge of AIDS: first, with education in personal responsibility in the use of sexuality and with reaffirmation of the essential role of marriage and the family; second, with research and implementation of effective treatment of AIDS and making it available to the greatest number of sick people through many health initiatives and institutions; third, with human and spiritual assistance for those with AIDS as for all the suffering, who have always been in the heart of the church.
These are the directions in which the church concentrates its commitment. It does not believe that focusing primarily on a wider distribution of condoms is in reality the best, most far-sighted and effective way to oppose the scourge of AIDS and protect human life.