Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stick this one in the "I told you so" file =)

Vatican changes position on condoms and AIDs.

Epidemiologists are physicians who have spent their entire careers studying the science behind disease transmission and infection. Any epidemiologist who suggested that condoms could worsen the spread of AIDs would have their license revoked immediately.

What the Pope finally realized is that it is morally indefensible to take a position that is in opposition to such unanimous scientific opinion solely because that position is more consistent with existing church dogma. Fair enough. He is only human, after all.

This could be a useful learning point. I've heard representatives of the Vatican on more than one occasion complain about how the "liberal media" is out to smear Benedict and the Catholic Church. If I was in the Catholic hierarchy, the lesson I would take away from this is "pick my battles" and "think before I speak".

When the Catholic church makes wildly unsubstantiated and frankly destructive claims such as "condoms makes AIDs worse" it has the unintended consequence of alienating a lot of reasonable people. And it is these people who, the next time, may not be as willing to give the church the benefit of the doubt when it does stake some morally defensible position.

A lot of these people might work in the "liberal media" or be consumers of it. They might be more accommodating to Church positions on issues that result from lots of debate, soul searching, and serious consideration instead of positions that almost seem like they came out of nowhere from a sort of "because I said so" dogmatic attitude.

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