Condescension and Racism

Vatican decries reaction to pope’s condom remarks

Critics of the Catholic Church’s social teachings are trying to intimidate Pope Benedict XVI into silence, the Vatican charged Friday in responding to attacks on the pontiff’s remarks about AIDS and condom use.

In a strongly worded statement, the Vatican defended the pope’s view that condoms aren’t the answer to Africa’s AIDS epidemic and could make it worse. On his way to Africa last month, he said the best strategy is the church’s effort to promote sexual responsibility through abstinence and monogamy.

France, Germany, the United Nations’ AIDS-fighting agency and the British medical journal The Lancet called the remarks irresponsible and dangerous. The Belgian parliament passed a resolution calling them “unacceptable” and demanded Belgium’s government officially protest.  

I draw your attention to the third paragraph of this report. Note that the Pope is called upon to be responsible and to avoid dangerous behavior; and his remarks are pronounced by the Belgian parliament to be “unacceptable”. Thus he is held to standards of responsibility and safety, and is expected to exhibit “acceptable” behavior. 

But according to them, the reason we need to freely distribute condoms in Africa is because holding Africans to standards of responsible, safe and acceptable behavior, such as abstinence and monogamy, is unrealistic. The Europeans don’t condemn Africans who actually, physically spread AIDS because of irresponsible and dangerous behavior. But they do condemn European Catholics who believe distribution of condoms to be a bad idea, on the grounds that such a belief is irresponsible and dangerous. Again, differing standards.

Holding white Europeans to these standards, but not black Africans, I think is racist, and insulting to the latter.

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