5 May 2009

Congo-Kinshasa: Bishops Praise Pope Visit, Anti-Condom Stand

Kinshasa — The Catholic bishops of Congo have expressed gratitude to Pope Benedict for his recent visit to Africa and pledged to continue to support his stand in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"In all truth, the pope's message which we received with joy has confirmed us in our fight against HIV/AIDS. We say no to condoms!" the bishops said. They described condom use as being "not only an ethical disorder but above all the proof of the trivialization of sexuality in our society."

The bishops views are contained in a statement signed by Bishop Nicolas Lola Diomo of Tshume, President of the Congolese Bishops' Conference (CENCO).

"Instead of preventing the spread of the disease, and without even guaranteeing complete security, [the condom] heightens human selfishness, worsens the problem, and encourages people to let themselves be driven by their sexual instincts and divests sexuality of its religious and symbolic functions," the bishops stated.

They expressed regret about the controversy caused by "some mass media sources who have voluntarily created confusion," taking the pope's words on AIDS, "which are the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church," "out of context."

The statement said that the strong commitment by Pope Benedict is indispensable for modern man, if we want to keep humanity from falling into decadence.

"Only freedom that does not give in before the fleeting passion of desire, the blindness of one's own selfishness, and the tyranny of the convenience of the moment, can contribute to making man more noble and more responsible in his acts, in the prospect of a better future."

The papal visit confirmed "our faith in Jesus Christ, the Light of the World," and brought hope for the future back to Africa.

"This is how we understand the pope's insistence on respect for life, the preservation of our African identity which is seriously threatened by a vigorous and aggressive globalization, the fight against corruption and the unjust exploitation of man by other men, and an appeal to African governments regarding their responsibilities in regards to their people and other nations," they said.

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