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Condom Worshipers &                                           the contrary, they increase the problem.”
                                                                     For weeks afterward, the media, accompanied by
Their Perennial Bogeyman                                      apoplectic gay-rights activists, lit into the Pope with a
                                                              nonstop barrage. The London Times alone published four
      If you ever thought the subject of condoms was          separate pieces attacking the Pope the day after he made
passé, the Pope’s recent trip to Africa should have dis-      his “controversial” comments: an editorial, a guest com-
abused you. Condoms are still apparently a big deal. In       mentary, an “analysis” piece (saying the Pope’s is “a stance
case you missed the spectacular worldwide hubbub, we’ll       that even followers disagree with”), and an article that
give you a quick recap: Benedict XVI met with a group of      readers were supposed to believe was an objective news
international journalists on his flight to Cameroon in        report. That alleged news report carried the headline:
March. He was asked by a French reporter whether the          “Pope’s attack on condoms sickens AIDS campaigners.” In
Church’s approach to AIDS prevention — which focuses          other words, according to The Times, the Pope made
primarily on sexual responsibility and rejects condom cam-    people sick. An unbiased report? Really?
paigns — was “unrealistic and ineffective.” Pope Benedict            And then condom worshipers in Paris — reportedly
responded:                                                    ecologists and communists — threw condoms on the
                                                              ground outside Notre Dame cathedral as worshipers were
     I would say the opposite. I think that the reality
                                                              leaving Sunday Mass. One person was injured and three
     that is most effective, the most present and the
                                                              were arrested after clashes between the protesters and
     strongest in the fight against AIDS, is precisely that
                                                              about twenty worshipers who were billed as “far-right
     of the Catholic Church, with its programs and its
                                                              Catholics” because they were carrying placards saying
     diversity. I think of the Sant’Egidio Community,
                                                              “Leave my Pope alone.”
     which does so much visibly and invisibly in the
                                                                     Not to be outdone by Frenchmen, Italian demon-
     fight against AIDS…and of all the sisters at the
                                                              strators carrying blown-up condoms greeted Pope Bene-
     service of the sick. I would say that one cannot
                                                              dict XVI on his return to the Vatican after his visit to
     overcome this problem of AIDS only with money
                                                              Cameroon and Angola.
     — which is important, but if there is no soul, no
                                                                     Yes, this condommania is big, big news. Only it isn’t
     people who know how to use it, [money] doesn’t
                                                              so new. One of the most oft-repeated canards during the
     help. One cannot overcome the problem with the
                                                              interregnum period of 2005 was that John Paul II’s Vati-
     distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they in-
                                                              can “brought us the spectacle of suffering and death” (as
     crease the problem.
                                                              The New Yorker put it) in the Thir
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