Saturday, April 04, 2009

African cardinal says pope's remarks about condoms taken out of context

CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS by Pope Benedict XVI that condoms were not a solution to Africa’s Aids crisis were “taken out of context” by the media, according to a prominent African cardinal.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, was speaking in Limerick yesterday on the first day of a five-day visit organised by the Ghana Ireland Friendship Trust (Gift).

Last month Pope Benedict was reported to have rejected condoms as a solution to Africa’s Aids crisis during a visit to the continent. “You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” he told reporters aboard the papal aircraft. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

When asked about the pope’s comments yesterday, Cardinal Turkson said he believed the remarks were misrepresented.

“He was taken out of context and what was drummed up in the papers wasn’t exactly what he said,” said Cardinal Turkson.

“For some time Africa has had to deal with the question of Aids, how to deal with it, how to stop it, and condoms were proposed as a way. What the pope was drawing attention to was that this popularisation of condoms as a remedy to Aids has its risks,” he continued.

According to Cardinal Turkson the manner in which some people in African countries use condoms has resulted in the spreading of the Aids virus.

“For a lot of people condoms can just be used, be cleaned up and be used again . . . That’s not how people use condoms here in the West. So it gives people a false sense of security ,” he said.

“People think that using condoms will prevent the spreading of Aids but it is actually helping the disease spread. So he was drawing attention to the risks involved in trusting or depending on condoms to stop the spread of Aids,” he said.

During his visit to Limerick yesterday, the 60-year-old cardinal met Prof Paul Finnucane, dean of the graduate Medical School at the University of Limerick (UL).

Prof Finnucane confirmed the UL’s medical school would be encouraging its students to travel to Ghana as part of the clinical training. “Our first group of students go into clinical training next year, so it might be possible to do something from next year onwards,” he said.

The Ghanaian cardinal’s visit was organised by the Limerick branch of Gift which has already raised €45,000 for Ghana.

Cardinal Turkson will visit a number of hospitals and colleges during his time in Limerick.

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(Source: IT)

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