30 April 2009
Abuja — The Catholic archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, has come out in strong defence of Pope Benedict's remarks on his visit to Africa last month that distribution of condoms cannot contain the spread of HIV, the virus that can cause Aids.
"As an archbishop dealing on a daily basis with people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, I know that the pope is speaking the truth," Archbishop Onaiyekan wrote in letter published by ZENIT news agency.
"I suspect that those who were so vociferous in condemning the pope have never touched an HIV infected person, let alone rendered any care and attention. It is so much easier to distribute gadgets, especially at other people's expense. What reduces infections is less casual sex, not more condoms. That is the truth."
Those accusing the pope of being unrealistic, that young people will have sex anyway, have no respect for the young people, the archbishop said. When they are given true orientation, young people freely respond with far greater sexual responsibility that the armchair social experts can ever imagine.
"As an African Archbishop, it is my nephews and nieces that are in danger of dying of HIV/AIDS. Let no one ever suggest that they are more concerned about them than I am. The condom distributors should listen to the truth coming not only from the pope and bishops, but even from impartial and serious scientific research."
Archbishop Onaiyekan said that to ignore scientific facts "is the greatest disservice anyone can do to the future of Africa. The struggle continues, and we are overcoming!"
Copyright © 2009 Catholic Information Service for Africa. All rights reserved.
Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).