The Lancet adds to the Pope-smacking chorus

Suffice it to say that Pope Benedict XV ha not won over a lot of fans in the scientific community with his remarks about condom use in Africa and HIV. The BBC reports:

One of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use.
It said the Pope’s recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly inaccurate and could have devastating consequences.
The Pope had said the “cruel epidemic” should be tackled through abstinence and fidelity rather than condom use.
Correspondents say the attack from the Lancet was unprecedentedly virulent.

And this is an unusually virulent Pope.

[T]he London-based Lancet said the Pope had “publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue”.
It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.
“Whether the Pope’s error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear,” said the journal.
But is said the comment still stood and urged the Vatican to issue a retraction.
“When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record,” it said.
“Anything less from Pope Benedict would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates, including many thousands of Catholics, who work tirelessly to try and prevent the spread of HIV/Aids worldwide.”

I don’t think the Pope believes he’s capable of making a false statement, scientific or otherwise. Seriously, what are the chances someone who looks as crazy as that man does is actually rowing with a full deck? As for him retracting something he has said, that may well happen, just after the temperature in Hades drops below 273 degrees on the Kelvin scale.

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  1. #1 by Warren on March 27, 2009 - 3:37 pm

    Oh, there’ll be a retraction issued, all right.
    500 years later, of course, but still…

  2. #2 by Bill from Dover on March 28, 2009 - 7:54 pm

    I guess if there has to be an expert in all things sexual, who better than the pope?

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