LONDON — The Lancet medical journal on Friday accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting scientific evidence in his statement that condoms worsen the AIDS crisis. It said he should retract the comments.
On a trip to Africa last week, the pope told reporters, "You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms." He then added, "On the contrary, it increases the problem."
France, Germany and the U.N. AIDS-fighting agency criticized the comments as irresponsible and dangerous.
In the latest issue of the prestigious British medical journal, the editors wrote that the pope "publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue."
The editorial referred to a statement by the UNAIDS agency and the World Health Organization that said, "The male latex condom is the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV (the virus that causes AIDS)."
The editorial said the pope should retract his comments or correct the record.
"Anything less from Pope Benedict would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates, including many thousands of Catholics, who work tirelessly to try and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide," the journal states.
The Vatican has said that the pope was expressing a long-standing Vatican position, and that he wanted to stress that a reliance on condoms distracted from the need for proper education in sexual conduct.
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