There is some debate about what Pope Benedict really said during the 17 March presser on the airplane bound for Africa.
His Holiness responded to a question from a French reporter about AIDS.
People are saying that the Holy See changed the transcript. They say the Holy See’s website now has not what the Pope really said but rather a corrected version, what the Holy Father’s handlers wished Pope Benedict said.
What did the Pope really say?
Let’s watch and listen. Here is a transcript so you can follow more easily.
"Direi che non si può superare questo problema dell’Aids solo con soldi. Sono necessari, ma se non c’è l’anima che li sappia applicare, non aiutano, non si può superare con la distribuzione di preservativi: al contrario, aumentano il problema."
"I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with money. It’s necessary, but if there isn’t the heart/soul which knows how to apply it, it doesn’t help, one cannot overcome it with the distribution of condoms: on the contrary, they increase the problem."
That is what the Pope really said.
This is what the Holy See put on its website. My emphases.
"Direi che non si può superare questo problema dell’Aids solo con slogan pubblicitari. Se non c’è l’anima, se gli africani non si aiutano, non si può risolvere il flagello con la distribuzione di preservativi: al contrario, il rischio è di aumentare il problema."
"I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with publicity slogans. If there is no heart/soul, if Africans do not help themselves, one cannot resolve the scourge with the distribution of condoms: on the contrary, the risk is to increase the problem."
In case you cannot access that page for some reason, here is a screen shot with the text in question blocked. You can click it for a larger version.
What did the papal spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, say about this?
" Regarding the reaction provoked by words of the pope on the problem of AIDS, the director of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi, clarifies that the Holy Father has reaffirmed the position of the Catholic Church and the essential elements of its commitment in combatting [sic] the terrible scourge of AIDS: first, with education in personal responsibility in the use of sexuality and with reaffirmation of the essential role of marriage and the family; second, with research and implementation of effective treatment of AIDS and making it available to the greatest number of sick people through many health initiatives and institutions; third, with human and spiritual assistance for those with AIDS as for all the suffering, who have always been in the heart of the church.
These are the directions in which the church concentrates its commitment. It does not believe that focusing primarily on a wider distribution of condoms is in reality the best, most far-sighted and effective way to oppose the scourge of AIDS and protect human life."