Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pope: Moral view best Aids strategy

Marital fidelity and a "moral view" of sexuality are the best strategies to stop the spread of Aids, Pope Benedict has declared.

It was the first time the Pontiff had addressed the issue of Aids since his comments on condoms during a trip to Africa caused a stir.

He did not mention condoms in speeches welcoming Namibia's and South Africa's new ambassadors to the Vatican, but reiterated the Catholic Church's position on the disease, which is pandemic in Africa.

"Only a strategy based on education to individual responsibility in the framework of a moral view of human sexuality, especially through conjugal fidelity, can have a real impact on the prevention of this disease," he said.

Addressing the South African ambassador, the Pope said the church would continue to campaign against the spread of Aids "by emphasising fidelity within marriage and abstinence outside of it."

Benedict drew unprecedented criticism from European governments, international organisations and scientists in March when he said that distributing condoms was not the answer to Africa's Aids problem and could make it worse. He said a moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease.

Though the position was not new, the questioning of the usefulness of condoms and the fact that the Pope made the comments on the plane carrying him to Aids-plagued Africa sparked a storm of criticism.

France, Germany, the United Nations' Aids-fighting agency and the British medical journal The Lancet called the remarks irresponsible and dangerous.

The Vatican countered that critics were trying to intimidate the Pope and dissuade him from expressing himself on moral issues.
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Source (PA)

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