UN Leader Says Pope’s Teachings Responsible for “Sending People to Their Death”

Wed Apr 13, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST

STOCKHOLM, April 13, 2005 ( - Speaking to Reuters news agency Monday, the head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Thoraya Obaid said she hoped the next Pope of the Catholic Church would alter the Church’s stand against condoms. Obaid insulted Catholics, characterizing the late Pope’s stand, and that of the Church, as “sending people to their death.”

Speaking of the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS and the positions of some claiming to be Catholic in favour of such an approach, Obaid said, “We are hoping the new Pope will take this message further, because it makes no sense sending people to their death.”

Father Romanus Cessario, O. P., Professor of Theology at Saint John’s Seminary in Boston reacted to Obaid’s statement telling “By promoting the full truth about abstinence, marriage, and fidelity, the Church does not send people to death, but fights against the real causes of the epidemic.”

Professor Cessario noted that the Church teachings in question stem from the Church’s “concerned about both the stability and fruitfulness of marriage and family.” While he said he could not speak for the next Pope, he added, “One thing is sure: the Church teaches what is true, and what she teaches about marriage and family will not change. She will continue to fulfill the charge given by the late Pope John Paul II: Preach the full truth about marriage.”

The claim that the Catholic stand against condoms is responsible for AIDS deaths in Africa is becoming increasingly popular. Writer Brendan O’Neill points out that “The New Statesman made it its cover story this week, with a picture of the Pope cuddling a black child and then the sting in the tale: ‘Blood of innocents on his hands: Pope John Paul II helped keep the continent of Africa disease-ridden….’” O’Neill also notes that the cover of the April 8 UK newspaper The Guardian, “has Polly Toynbee describing the Pope as ‘a man whose edict killed millions’.”

As popular Catholic blogger Hilary White puts it, “The ‘Pope as Mass Murderer’ meme seems to be popular.” White comments: “The Pope is against the use of condoms because he believes that even black people in Africa are in fact human beings endowed with the use of reason and a soul, fully equipped with a conscience and able to make decisions in the light of grace.”

And satirizing the motives of those who claim the Pope a killer for his condom stance, she writes, “those darkies are merely savages who are totally enslaved to their rutting instinct and must be controlled by artificial means which must be imposed from on high by the high-minded, enlightened (mostly white academic) condom-pushers funded by the UN…all for their own good of course. That wicked Pope, being opposed to this has doomed the brown people in the southern hemisphere to death by AIDS and botched abortions because of his archaic views on human conscience, and is therefore directly responsible for their demise.”

Even, O’Neill, who describes himself as “an ex-Catholic implacably opposed to the Vatican’s utterances on contraception and abortion (and everything else, for that matter),” points out the inherent racism in the claims that the Catholic teaching is leading to deaths. O’Neill, writes, “Indeed, the only reason you could believe the fantastically simplistic idea that Vatican edict = AIDS in Africa is if you consider Africans to be little more than automatons (or God’s little children) who do as they are told.”

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