Pope Benedict Be Damned! Pelted And Ignored to Irrelevance!
By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
The Pope lied; He lied to Africans while on his trip to Cameroon. Pope Benedict XVI blatantly lied to the press and public. He, a former college professor, now pope, should have known better, he knowingly lied by turning a known medical and scientific fact on its head!
The pope told a boldface lie when he stated that AIDS “cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics; on the contrary, they increase it” the pope stated this falsehoods, despite abundant medical and scientific evidence, age old, which supports the usefulness of a prophylactic protection. (See Newsweek Magazine, the May 25, 2009 edition).
Condoms or prophylactics remain the average man and woman’s first line of defense, against sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis etc. Condom is not a cure of course, but a primary preventive measure. To say condoms do not serve as effective prevention measures against STDs, is the equivalent of saying, wearing surgical gloves does not prevent your hands from getting wet or stained! Or that wearing rain-boots does not prevent your feet from getting wet in the rains!
No one is suggesting that anyone should wear a raincoat and then jump into the pool and expect to remain dry, no, it will be of course ruinous to your clothes and shoes to do so. But raincoat remains very useful tool during the rain, especially if you are a pedestrian.
And so it goes, if you are a poor person in the world, particularly so, if you are a poor person in Africa afflicted with the human desire for sexual intercourse, you must find solace in condoms, as your bullet proof raincoat; Unless of course you happen to be the Pope himself or the former US President George W. Bush whose science, reason and commonsense have been replaced by religious dogma, which makes them insist on abstinences as the only remedy, the only be all, and end all, in the global fight to curb AIDS and other STDs.
There isn’t as yet, a cure for HIV or AIDS. Current medicines or pharmaceuticals, and retroviral cocktails which prolong the lives of those afflicted with the AIDS virus, are prohibitively expensive and beyond the reach of the average HIV positive African. There are the other compounding issues of the bio-toxicities and side effects of continued use of these retroviral cocktails, their required quantities and prolonged use thereof.
This, in my view, makes it particularly crucial and presciently important, that Africans be in the forefront of practicing preventive measures, of which condom is the gold standard available and affordable. For Pope Benedict to tell these vulnerable Africans lies and junk science about condoms is tantamount to passing death sentences on them! Condoms are scientifically proven to be efficacious, while abstinence is measured by the individual’s ability to resist and suppress the natural instincts of sexual urges, multiplied by libido and available varied temptations.
Pope Benedict visited the Cameroons and then Angola, in these two countries, as in much of the African continent, precipitous abject poverty has in recent years driven hordes and hordes of multitudes closer to religion, including the Catholic Church. Religion has become the only growth industry in which wish I could purchase common stocks! What with Nigerians pastors with private executive jets planes?
It is quite understandable then, that in the infinite travails, malaises and funks which pervade ordinary lives on the African continent; some have become more religious. Religion has become the only succor and solace for the common man. Some have in the process become impervious to science, logic, commonsense and even frontal papal assaults and insults, such as the Pope Benedict XVI’s lie above.
The scourge of AIDS is said to be of pandemic proportions in the developing world and worse in Africa, more so, in Africa’s southern parts, which Angola, a country recently visited by the pope, is part.
And as a consequence Mr. Thabo Mbeki, the one time president of South Africa was severely criticized and ostracized by western religious, political, NGO leaders and the western media. The western press in particular, ridiculed Mr. Mbeki with acerbic righteous indignations for his gaffes about AIDS which appeared to have downplayed its mortality and morbidity.
But these same groups have neglected to sanction Pope Benedict for his foolery, goof and blatant lie! The pope is revered and beyond reproach? The pope seem to know when to be flippant or conversely, measured? Please!
The Pope and many others do not show Africans any modicum of respect. They believe Africans are gullible and ever willing to swallow every gobbledygook theories from their boondoggles. Be it religious or social theories. Clearly, Pope Benedict XVI would not take his unscientific message to any place outside of Africa. I am sure the Pope would be booed for such apostasy of “condoms are useless”, were he to say so in North America or in Western Europe.
There is a permanent disparity in political and religious messages which political and religious leaders from the western world specially calibrate for Africa, compared with the rest of the world.
We have often heard for instance, about the evils of subsidies and the angelic qualities of free-market economy, until the current financial meltdown, during which governments in America and Europe have been taking actions, including bailouts and all manners of direct interventions. There are additional cushions and social safety nets for their citizens. When historically, the opposites of these bailouts and direct government interventions have been recommended, perennially, to the leaders of developing world, be it Argentina or Brazil and every where outside the western hemisphere.
American Catholics are not puppets of the Pope, the Vatican or St Peters Basilica. They are semi-reformed or post modern catholic. They have substantially modified catholic and papal orthodoxies and dogmas. It is highly unlikely that Pope Benedict would have made his condoms is ineffective statements in America or anywhere near America. So, why take the lie to Africans?
There is a pattern in all of these. I have watched every pope delicately balance their visits and utterances in very measured ways, tailored to be politically correct and sensitive to local populations worldwide. For instance, the popes have gone out of their ways, bent over backwards to assuage the feelings of Jews regarding the Holocaust. Popes have apologized profusely for papal silence or complicities in varied atrocities; Holocaust and Spanish Inquisition etc.
But wait! What about Catholic roles, Catholic silence and Catholic and papal complicities in slave trade, colonialism and plethora of oppressions or subjugations of Africans and peoples of African descent?
Did churches not preach that it was God ordained to brutalize the Africans in order to Christianize the Africans? Did racists not argue that it was God ordained hierarchy for humans to have Africans in the bottom? Has the Pope not continue to perpetrate that mindset with his condescending dumb-down junk science of condom don’t work message to Africans during his recent trip?
Recently, I watched with interest, as Pope Benedict XVI visited Palestine and Israel, he again, like popes before him, followed a script, bending over-backwards, to accommodate the sensitive feelings of local communities. Pope Benedict calibrated and recalibrated his message delicately, to placate and assuage his host communities and at the end of all these, there were still vociferous and belligerent comments against the pope at the end of the visit. But when it comes to Africa? Western political and religious leaders are always willingly and blissfully ignorant, lazy and just plain careless about what Africans feel or think of their condescending remarks about us and our continent in matters political, social, economic and or religious.
Western journalists report condescendingly, “this is John Smith reporting from Africa” would they do that when the pope visits London or Paris? “This is John Smith reporting from Europe” Why does the pope’s visit to two major cities in two African countries, become an African visit? Or why wouldn’t the pope’s visit to London and Paris similarly be typified as European visit? How many countries are in Europe and what is the population of Europe compared with the 53 countries in Africa and Africa’s 883 million people?
Why is Cardinal Arinze not the pope anyway? There are more Catholics in Nigeria than in Germany! As there are more Catholics in Brazil, and Mexico etc Catholics No Se Habla Espanol? These, and the Catholic Church refusal to ordain women remain my reason for being on self-exile or sabbatical from the Catholic Church, I will return to the Catholic Church when a Nigerian or African, person of African descent, a Brazilian, Mexican or Filipino etc becomes a pope! I believe in democracy, the majority vote, no vetoes power please!
Why doesn’t the Catholic Church take these things into account? I suppose it is because too many an African are too overjoyed with these received foreign wisdoms.
The playboy and philanderer who is also the current president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy was, no long ago quoted as suggesting or implying that colonialism was somehow some sorts of favors to the colonized peoples of the world. Because, the natives were primitive and the colonial powers needed to “civilized” the natives through the impositions of the cultures, religion, and languages of the colonial powers, who were brutal usurpers of powers which rightly belonged to the native peoples. One therefore wonders why the French were not dancing in the street when the German took over France! Sarkozy’s arrogance and impudence is simply infuriating!
And as for Pope Benedict XVI, his attitude to condoms as preventive tools, I guess we now know that those at the Catholic Church hierarchies, who molested boys, were obviously not interested in condoms as preventive measures against STDs, aside of the fact that pedophilia is indicative of moral bankruptcy and a pungently filthy felony.
And why is it, if we may ask, that the Catholic Church have not managed to convince the unrepentant boys-child molesters amongst Catholic priests, to refrain from molesting boys, by practicing abstinence as preached by the pope and George W. Bush? Physicians, Catholic pedophiles, heal thyself; of sexual urges and pedophilia through abstinence! It is easy! And practice celibacy, Catholic orthodoxies requires and demands it.
Yet, another double standards! As abstinence does not apparently apply to the pedophiles priests among the Catholic priesthood? Who hypocrisy, it stinks to high heavens and even poor innocent hell! Molested see hell!
Nobody apologizes to us about slavery, colonialism, apartheid and all types of oppressions and brutalities to which Africans have been subjected all through history. Why are Africans never angry about these ceaseless and endless affronts directed at Africans? Why do we turn the other cheek, always? We are admonished to move-on and get over the ugly hands dealt us, all through human history.
Africans should become more adamant insistent persistent, regarding fairness and justice to us Africans.
Is it not reasonable to expect that Africans will at some point rise, and reject these persistent maltreatments, historical ridicules and indignities which have been visited onto the Africans? Naturally, given the plights and predicaments of continental Africans, and peoples of African descent in Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and the United States etc, you would think that Black people would have been the terrorists and suicide bombers of this world!
Given slavery, colonialism, apartheid, denial of reparations and all types of marginalization and exploitations; after hundreds of years of being treated worst than farm animals, of being burned, lynched, branded, stereotyped and driven to the wall, you would think, we would be angry! But instead, we are kind, magnanimous Christians and sundry religionists. Our placidity rises almost to the level of buffoonery!
The world does not mess with Arabs and Jews or Americans and Europeans because consequences abound.
Pope Benedict XVI came to Africa to tell us that science does matter! In doing so, he lied; he told a bold face lie. Next times he comes to any African country, he should not receive our affections which they take for granted anyway. Africans should damn, pelt and ignore this pope into irrelevance and the same treatment should apply to any subsequent pope who disrespects Africans.
Africans should detach from religious irrationalities and fanaticism. Africans should trust science and technology for development and advancement and eventual salvation of continental Africa and all peoples of African descent worldwide. That is the way the world works. No more reliance on papal pie in the sky preachments.