It’s relatively common knowledge that Annie Lennox devotes her time to AIDS awareness, prevention and treatment in Africa. It’s also pretty common knowledge that the Catholic Church frowns on forms of artificial contraception, including condoms. And it’s very widespread knowledge that condoms help prevent the spread of HIV.
So when Pope Benedict made a well-publicized trip to Africa in March and explained that condoms only “aggravate” the fight against HIV and AIDS, Lennox was understandably upset and vented to the Herald Sun:
“If there was ever an example of irresponsibility, it’s the Pope going to a country like Angola, where people are dying left, right and centre because of unprotected sex, and telling them they should carry on or that they should abstain. What planet is this person on?”
Hang on, hang on. Lennox isn’t about to tear up the man’s photo on live television. “It’s an illustration of the madness that goes on in this world. I have nothing against the Catholic Church or any religion. I respect everyone’s entitlement to pursue whatever spiritual value they like, but it’s a missed opportunity.
“He managed to set things back for people. It was criminal, really,” Lennox said.
“It’s the highest irresponsibility for anyone to put that message out. It’s undone the good work people have been trying to do in terms of safe sex practices and education. What a mess.”
While the Angolan population is half Catholic, the government’s official policy promotes the use of condoms for the sexually active.