Condoms not the answer to Africa’s AIDS tragedy: Pope

March 17th, 2009 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome/Yaounde (Cameroon), March 17 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI Tuesday courted further controversy on his first trip to Africa by saying condoms were not a solution to the continent’s AIDS problems.
AIDS “is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems,” the pontiff said on board the flight to Yaounde, Cameroon.

Benedict also appealed for international solidarity with Africa, describing the continent as particularly vulnerable to the current global economic downturn.

“This economic crisis is the product of a deficit in ethics,” he told reporters on board the plane.

On Friday the pontiff plans to fly to Angola, from where he is scheduled to return to Rome March 23.

During his six-day trip, Benedict is set to meet with political and church leaders, lead young Catholics in prayer at two mass rallies and visit charities.

The late Pope John Paul II visited Africa 16 times. That was more visits than he made to any other continent.

In contrast, Benedict’s only visit to the continent where the Catholic Church is growing the fastest, was as a cardinal, to the Congolese capital Kinshasa in 1987.

Benedict has said that during the trip he intends to stress the role of the church in “reconciliation, justice and peace”.

He also plans to prepare for the second synod of African bishops, a gathering to be held in Rome in the autumn, by delivering in Cameroon a document to bishops from across the continent.

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