Sunday, March 22, 2009


Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa recently and reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s opposition to condoms. He has been getting a lot of flack for this, but I have no problem with his position. True, according to the UN, there are approximately 22 million people in sub-Saharan African infected with HIV, and 75% of all AIDS related deaths in 2007 happened in sub-Saharan Africa, and condom use is one of the few proven ways to avoid HIV, but this isn’t the Pope’s fault. He didn’t make up the idea that God hates condoms. It’s in the Bible, “Thou shalt not cover thy member in latex, nor sheathe thy member in plastic, nor shalt thou do anything to prohibit thy member from sending sperm into egg and thus depriving the Lord thy God with more members.”

The Pope is very clear, “You can’t resolve it [AIDS] with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.” I know lots of people take issue with this, but I think the Pope is correct.

Think about this for a moment, just distributing condoms does nothing. People have to put them on human penises prior to said penises entering orifices in other human bodies. So the Pope’s assertion that distribution without use is meaningless is true. But what about the Pope’s claim that distribution actually increases AIDS? Here, too, I think he is correct.

For example, if you hand out condoms to people who don’t know how to use them they will find other uses for them. For example, they will fill them with water and throw them at people. The water will soak those people’s clothes making their bodies all the more alluring which will result in more unprotected sex. Or they will pump them full of air and use them as bats. Fighting with these latex bats will lead to close physical contact that will lead to more sex. Or they will cut holes in the top and sides and wear them as clothes revealing even more of their bodies, which will lead to more sex.

When the Pope urges abstinence he is sharing a method that works for him and all of his co-workers. Or at least most of them. And if the people of sub-Saharan Africa, the Church’s fastest growing market, reject condom use, I wish them luck.

If it were up to me I’d mandate a new form of circumcision that replaced all foreskins with permanent condoms. These would function like those toilet cover machines in public restrooms that automatically drape the toilet seat in a fresh cover after each flush. The permanent condom machine would slip a fresh condom over the penis after each use of said penis for sex or urination. Couples wishing to have children could apply for the temporary removal of said condom machine after successfully completely courses in sex-ed, hygiene, and marriage and parenting skills. Oh, to be king. Or even pope.


Mike said...

Rabbi, a great blog! Thank you.

Have you seen this? Moscow Patriarchate Backs Pope's Stance on Condoms,

Grégoire said...

Dear Rabbi,

You have a remarkable gift for humor, and this is one of your best articles in that regard.

In the 6th grade someone blew up a "rubber" and we batted it about the halls. It didn't lead to any unprotected sex, but there were other consequences. Our teachers didn't find such things very amusing in early 80s St. George, Utah.

Di said...

I recently read in the paper that they tracked 1000 kids. Half had abstinence sex education and the other half had full sex education including information on birth control. After tracking them for a number of years, they found that there was no difference between the two groups with regard to age of first sex or number of partners. The only difference was that the abstinence group kids were less likely to use birth control.

Comforting, huh?