Nov 21, 2010

An Open Letter to the Pope

Get this, folks! The Pope says condoms are ok! Well, kind of. He says they can be sometimes ok, but not great. And only when they're protecting male prostitutes from AIDS. So... well... Hey, it's something, right? The same guy who told us last year, while on a trip to Africa, that condoms were only making the AIDS epidemic worse (And this guy supposedly has a direct line to the Almighty? Heaven help us...) has now made a personal statement to a writer that in certain cases, men using condoms to prevent the spread of aids could be a step toward "moralization" and "responsibility" for those men.

I guess I could start lauding the progressive agenda of this Pope, who's breaking line with Vatican policy by making these statements. I could start singing the praises of the new, UFO-positive Vatican. I could be banging the gongs in excitement that such a huge religious leader is thinking more liberally than ridiculously... But then again... No. Because his statements are still ridiculous.

Only male prostitutes can use them? Sometimes? And even then it'll only slow them down on their way to hell for being prostitutes? What kind of moral succour is that, Pope Benedict? What kind of thing is that to say in a world where over thirty-four million people have died from AIDS? In a world where women are being raped and blamed for it, where the population is absolutely out of control, where resources are being eaten up, where venereal diseases of all kinds are plagues upon the face of the earth? Women can't use condoms ever still, because they're women, and it's their job to risk being infection with one of the most deadly diseases known to man just so they won't not get pregnant?

Ok. Ok, yeah. He didn't say exactly that, but extrapolating only a tiny bit gets any intelligent reader to this place. And at that point, I just lose all respect for the situation. Allow me to illuminate the absurdity of this sexist, myopic attempt at progressive religious thought via the age-old tool of satire:

Given that the only excusable use for condoms is "in the intention of reducing the risk of infection" with a nefarious disease that kills many of its victims, let us take a look at the idea of disease itself. While diseases certainly come in many forms and from many places, even from inside the body itself, one of the most common symptoms of disease is the rapid multiplying of disease cells within the human body. In the case of HIV/AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus lives and multiplies in the human body and infects immune cells, thus weakening the body. You get the idea.
In the case of cancer, the cells are the body's own, but they multiply at an alarming rate and live off the body's own resources.

Let us then look at another wildly successful and yet oft-overlooked disease: pregnancy. Ah, reader, before you attack me with wild allegations about how pregnancy is a divine miracle and not a disease, and how could I be so callous, consider this: pregnancy occurs when millions of alien cells enter the human body and one of those cells invades the ovum of the human female. This cell and the ovum mutate into an entirely new set of cells which, much like a cancerous tumor, proceed to multiply within the body at an alarming rate and which live off the resources of the host body. At the time this was written, the WorldClock estimated that so far this year, STDs including HIV/AIDS had killed 1,929,342 people so far this year. Perinatal conditions and maternal conditions (I'm not sure if this includes death during childbirth), however, had been responsible for an estimated 3,298,674 deaths. If that's not a disease, I'll eat my hat. (Actually I'm not wearing a hat, so that's a hyperbolic statement.)

Given that the idea behind using condoms in a Catholic-endorsed, responsible, and moral way must be the prevention, not of God's will, but of the spread of disease and to ultimately prolong the trip so many of us are merrily taking toward hell, I think it would be wise for the Pope to acknowledge that pregnancy, a far more widespread and obviously often-fatal disease in its own write, is just as solid a reason to use condoms as HIV. And given that women are by far the most likely demographic to succumb to this mortal terror, it is perhaps best if he also extends his personal (not Papal--his comments were not made in an official capacity, so the Catholic Church still officially thinks safe sex is evil) approbation to the use of condoms by the fairer sex as well, lest he appear dreadfully sexist. After all, women seeking to avoid infection can always use a little "moralization," too.


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