ESHOWE, South Africa, July 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic bishop in South Africa is backing Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial assertion that condoms have made the AIDS crisis worse in Africa.

“People, in their minds, they think that condoms prevent the sickness,” says Bishop Xolelo Thaddaeus Kumalo of Eshowe, a small town in Zululand, in an interview with Where God Weeps.

But, he says, “it helps spread it because every young person, even those who are not aware of sexual activity, is taught in the school about this condom in sexual education. They try it and that is why you still have a high rate of people being infected with this AIDS epidemic.”

The HIV infection rate in South Africa is estimated to be as high as 22%.

In March 2009, on his way to Africa for his first papal visit to the continent, Pope Benedict ignited a worldwide controversy when he told reporters that the condom will not solve the AIDS crisis and in fact “aggravates the problems.”

The remark sparked widespread scorn from world leaders, mainstream media, and even some Catholic bishops.

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But the Pope was defended by AIDS expert Prof. Edward Green, who heads Harvard’s AIDS Prevention Research Project. “As a scientist was amazed to see the closeness between what the Pope said last March in Cameroon and the results of the most recent scientific discoveries,” Green said in August 2009.  “The condom does not prevent AIDS. Only responsible sexual behavior can address the pandemic.”

Green pointed in particular to the success of the Ugandan ‘ABC’ strategy, which says, “Abstain, Be faithful, and, as a last resort, use a Condom.”

According to Kumalo, the condom push is a result of arrogance by the international community. “They come with readymade solutions. They don’t ask. They know what is right for us as Africans and the condoms are part of that arrogance,” he said.