Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Stop the Presses! Vatican Might Condone Saving Lives!

Have you heard? Pope Benedict XVI, who is turning out to be less of a hard liner than I feared, is raising the question of whether the Church might, in cases when one member of a married heterosexual couple is HIV+, allow condom use to prevent transmission to the uninfected partner.

I know, I know. Have they completely lost their minds? But in an atypically forward thinking manner, Pope Benedict must be considering that the fastest growing number of Catholics are in Africa, where coincidentally, there are also the highest rates of HIV infection. Hence, rethinking the ban on condoms. It's like a restaurant, after thousands of customers have died from e coli infections, instituting handwashing and wearing gloves for staff handling food. Making changes to business practice to prevent killing all the customers. How do these guys think of this stuff? I stand in awe.

Apparently when weighed against the death of a heterosexual married Catholic, condom use would be the "lesser evil," but certainly not preferable to abstinence, of course. Abstinence within marriage, now that's an idea about to have its day!

After all this hand-wringing, folks that study the issue say that the Pope may make no change at all but rather, "vigorously re-endorse ethically acceptable answers to the AIDS crisis, namely, the virtue of chastity and abstinence," according to Reverend Thomas Berg, executive director of the Westchester Institute, an institute for Catholic studies in New York

Hopefully in his studies, the Pope will also peruse the UNAIDS 2005 update concerning Sub-Saharan Africa, which reminds us that although this area accounts for 10% of the world's population, it accounts for 60% of HIV infections. Of course we'll stay tuned and hope like hell, er, heck, that this Pope will be able to throw off the mantle of church doctrine and consider the lives of the actual people that comprise the Catholic Church.

In an unrelated matter, my plug for favorite new snack: the Trader Joe's Soytzel. A cross between a pretzel and a bread stick, the Soytzel is packed with 6.5 grams of soy protein and 20% of your daily fiber in one serving, a measly 7 Soytzels. I've eaten that many just sitting here typing! Name one other salty snack food that can help keep you regular and provide you with heart healthy soy protein! None! Okay, I don't really know if there is another, but check out the Soytzel at a TJs location near you.

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