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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Condoms cannot solve AIDS, Pope tells press on flight to Africa


Speaking to reporters who accompanied him on the 6-hour flight from Rome to Yaounde, Cameroon, on March 17, Pope Benedict XVI said that the distribution of condoms cannot stop the AIDS epidemic, and "even aggravates the problem." The spread of AIDS, which is rampant in sub-Saharan Africa, will not be halted by money alone, the Holy Father said; it will require changes in behavior, prompted by moral as well as medical principles. The Pope reminded reporters that the Catholic Church has been at the forefront of providing care for AIDS victims, especially in Africa.

The Pope left Rome's Fiumicino airport late on Tuesday morning, and was expected in Cameroon at 4 in the afternoon for an airport arrival ceremony at which he would be greeted by the country's President Paul Biya. After the arrival ceremony-- at which both the Pontiff and the president will deliver speeches-- Pope Benedict will travel to the residence of the apostolic nuncio in Yaounde, where he will spend the night.

[Check later for an updated story on the Pope's arrival in Cameroon.]

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