Dutch condemn Pope's condom policies
The Dutch government condemned Pope Benedict XVI's condom policies in Africa as extremely harmful.
THE HAGUE — The Dutch government Wednesday called "extremely harmful" Pope Benedict XVI's comments denouncing condom use as a method of combating AIDS during his first visit to Africa as pontiff.
"It is extremely harmful and very serious that this pope is forbidding people from protecting themselves," development minister Bert Koenders said in a statement.
He was "truly astonished" to hear of the pope's remarks, made as he began a week-long visit to Africa on Tuesday, that condoms were aggravating, rather than containing, the continent's rampant AIDS problem.
"There is an enormous stigma surrounding the subject of AIDS, and AIDS sufferers face serious discrimination. The pope is making matters worse," said Koenders, accusing the pontiff of being "out of touch with reality".
"People should be able to decide for themselves whether to use condoms to protect themselves against infection with the HIV virus."
The pope told reporters that AIDS was a tragedy "that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."
The solution lies in a "spiritual and human awakening" and "friendship for those who suffer," he said.
AFP / Expatica