Lack of interest in Africa

My energies and time are rather limited at the moment, so I may not give much space to issues of the Holy Father’s trip to Africa.

Still… the relative lack of interest shown by the secular media is interesting.

I suspect there are a couple factors.

First, they don’t want the Holy Father’s explanations of the dignity of human life and the need for solutions for AIDS, etc., that don’t include condom distribution to get out into public discussion.

Second, they don’t care about Africa.

It occurs to me that if it weren’t for the cute furry animals, most of the intellectual elite wouldn’t care if Africa fell off the face of the earth.  They don’t seem to give a tinker’s dam for the people.  They are not interested in solutions that work, only in projects that fit their ideological bent.

Otherwise how to explain why the wealthy West continues to stand by and watch the terrible suffering and upheaval in many parts of Africa?  How do we explain the left-wing’s imposition of aid tied to particular tools of social engineering?

I’m just askin’

I suspect that will change when they figure our that once China solidifies its ties with African nations, for access to resources.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mike T says:

    The disinterest of the intellectual elite may be a source of hope for Africa.
    Certainly, there is enormous suffering in places like the Democratic Republic
    of the Congo, and more western attention might help to alleviate that
    suffering in the short term. But at this point in history, western attention
    always seems to entail brainwashing, secularism and the pumping of cultural

    Our parish has had a recent influx of immigrants from Africa. These families
    have children. Does anyone remember children?

  2. Petrus says:

    Father: I wondering if you had a comment on this quote from CNN:

    He has, however, assembled a panel of scientists and theologians to consider the narrow question of whether to allow condoms for married couples, one of whom has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

    It is still not clear how the pope will rule on the matter, said Allen, who is also a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

    I’m just wondering what if this is just CNN trying to make a story out of nothing, or if it something that might be implemented. IF it is, it seems like it would end in disaster because then other people would say “I just want to avoid getting AIDS let me use a condom”

  3. irishgirl says:

    I noticed that too. Last night I watched the NBC Nightly News, and there was absolutely ‘nada’ about the Holy Father’s arrival in Africa-and on a broadcast that was ‘with limited commercial interruption’!

    Same thing in the print media, when I picked up the NY Daily News. Big story splashed about Vanessa Redgrave’s daughter’s skiing accident and head injury (terribly sad for her husband Liam Neesom and their two sons); but again, ‘nada’ on the papal visit!

    Go figure….wish I could get EWTN…sigh….

  4. Luigi says:

    “They are not interested in solutions that work, only in projects that fit their ideological bent.”

    Right on, Father. The environmentalist lunatics have effectively prevented modern industry from taking root in Africa with threats of litigation and intimidation via PR, pretty much ensuring that poverty will endure there. They sit in their air conditioned offices in NY, London and Paris and congratulate themselves for saving the planet while these people live in squalor.

    It’s amazing how selectively compassionate these phoneys are. Hollywood liberals can’t say “Darfur” enough. Fine, let’s help these poor souls, but somehow the millions of people in Iraq who were having their fingernails torn out, their wives and daughters raped, and their sons killed by Sadam Hussein didn’t deserve to be rescued from the despot.

    Like you said, it’s all about ideology. Their compassion is really just a means to an end.

  5. Martin J. says:

    John Allen wrote an interesting article last week about the lack of media interest in the Pope’s visit to Africa.

  6. Member of the Church Militant says:

    Those with a skewed ideology only use Africa to promote their sex and AIDS agenda. For example, whenever AIDS is brought up as a primarily homosexual problem, these people with bent ideologues love to throw out the exaggerated statistics for AIDS in Africa to try to prove how “everyone” can get AIDS.

    It’s the same with pushing their Sexually Transmitted Disease vaccines on the entire world(for example the Gardasil against genital warts), they love to throw out the most exaggerated example to promote their vaccine by stating how women in Africa are getting raped so “should we not wish to save their lives from STD’s with the vaccine?” To which I ask, why not work to stopping these poor women from being raped first of all – give them a gun with the money and teach them to use it, then watch rape, AIDS and STD statistics drop. Again, teaching these women self-defence doesn’t serve their agenda. It seems they don’t want these African women to stop getting diseases because it serves their promoting their ideology by using their disease statistics – plain and simple evil.

  7. dymphna says:

    If there’s any hope for the Africans it will be
    that the West stops paying attention to them.
    Every time the West tries to save Africa we just
    help make it worse.

  8. dymphna says:

    Most of Africa’s misery can be laid at the feet
    of the people. The rest of it can be laid af the
    feet of foolish Westerners who toss money to

  9. C.L. says:

    Fr Ray Blake has posted the full quote (and context) of what the Holy Father said on condoms: simply beautiful.

    And, as a bobus, check out that hat!

  10. C.L. says:

    “bobus” also known as bonus.

  11. joe says:

    NPR — I only listened to it because it came on when I started my car and the story interested me — had a very “in passing” snippet on the trip. Their angle was more of how the Church is growing fastest there and the Holy Father was trying to boost that.

  12. David Osterloh says:

    CNNABCCBSNBCMSMSBC top story: silly German Pope talking about abstinence again, what a old dopey geezer, this is the 21st century, get with it,

  13. Brian Day says:

    I was watching a bit of the local news last night (So Cal) when the Pope’s trip came up. They framed it as the trip started with “another controversy” because the Pope said condoms won’t solve the AIDS crisis. Hah!

  14. Scott W. says:

    He has, however, assembled a panel of scientists and theologians to consider the narrow question of whether to allow condoms for married couples, one of whom has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

    It is still not clear how the pope will rule on the matter, said Allen, who is also a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

    This is something that has been floating around for awhile and I don’t recall ever seeing real substantiation for it. The fact that I’ve encountered several dissenters repeating this thing out makes me suspicious.

  15. Fiona says:

    Sadly, Father Z, even the South African media has paid scant attention to the Holy Father’s arrival on the continent.

    To Church Militant. I live in South Africa and can, unfortunately, confirm that the ‘heterosexual’ AIDS statistics are not made up. Many of our cemeteries, particularly in the rural areas, are filled to capacity with the bodies of those who have died of AIDS and more and more people, young and old, are dying daily. Don’t try and kid yourself, this is a very real problem. We have a shortage of teachers in the country because so many of them have died from AIDS. Fact, not fiction.

    That having been said I agree with the Holy Father that condoms are not the answer as they do encourage promiscuity in a situation where abstinence and fidelity are the only real solution. One of the biggest problems is that there are certain ideas about manhood and motherhood that are so entrenched in the local culture that no amount of ‘education’ is simply going to remove overnight.

  16. Veritas says:

    I have to admit to fellow readers of WDTPRS that it has been extremely challenging for me to not let all the news of the past 2 months affect my outlook. The media headlines about AIDS/Condoms is just another example. I appreciate the link posted by C.L. to the Holy Father’s actual words on the topic.

    I mention this because perhaps a new thread can be started (otherwise it may “rabbit hole” this one): what if anything can Catholics do to address this common effort to mischaracterize the Holy Father and our Church in a juvenile effort to undermine Her credibility? I am at a loss for answers right now. Given the size of the problem, it’s gonna take lots of $$ and effective organization. I will leave it to Fr. Z to create such a thread if he so desires and understand if he cuts such discussion off in this thread. I apologize to his readers if this post takes the current discussion off track.

    Now, back to life on the ranch…

  17. JlovesR says:

    Irishgirl – You can livestream from

  18. Member of the Church Militant says:


    I was not dismissing the AIDS statistics in Africa, however, it is not that way in the rest of the world where it is obvious that the majority of AIDS is among and spread among homosexuals. In Africa, due to the sexual morals it is also my understanding that many homosexuals are bi-sexual as well which would obviously cause a spread over to hetersexuals.

    Let’s be honest, in most of the world when homosexuals make up only 1% of the population yet have 60-70% of all AIDS cases reported that makes it pretty clear that this is a primarily homosexual problem. Medical experts know and acknowledge that sodomy is a huge factor in spreading the AIDS virus.

  19. mysticalrose says:

    “Second, they don’t care about Africa.”

    Precisely. Unless, it’s to sensationalize the supposed AIDS epidemic which of course fits their agenda nicely (Do we ever hear about the very real AIDS epidemic in China?). Pope Benedict is an extraordinarily inclusive Pope who genuinely loves the Church universal in all its richness — this is what the media (including liberal “catholic” media)doesn’t get or care to get. Africa is a heck of a lot larger than AIDS, and it is this that Pope Benedict’s trip (hopefully) will demonstrate .. . at least for those who have ears to hear.

  20. Kevin says:

    See the following link for a review of a new book related to African Aid

    When Help Does Harm

    It is one of the great conundrums of the modern age: More than 300 million people living across the continent of Africa are still mired in poverty after decades of effort — by the World Bank, foreign governments and charitable organizations — to lift them out if it. While a few African countries have achieved notable rates of economic growth in recent years, per-capita income in Africa as a whole has inched up only slightly since 1960. In that year, the region’s gross domestic product was about equal to that of East Asia. By 2005, East Asia’s GDP was five times higher. The total aid package to Africa, over the past 50 years, exceeds $1 trillion. There is far too little to show for it.

  21. Clara says:

    Not to deny that Africa has suffered from numerous boneheaded (and ideologically motivated) “aid” schemes, but even so, a lot of remarks here do seem a little hasty/unkind. If there were some easy and obvious way to ease the suffering of Africans, I think someone would have tried it, if not out of compassion than at least because they wanted the good PR. But the bottom line is that a lot of parts of that continent are really a serious mess. If the existing government is badly corrupt, AND the people are deeply impoverished and uneducated, AND terrible diseases are laying waste to the country’s population… well, then there isn’t necessarily going to be a magic bullet that will make things better. Quite the contrary, many well-intentioned efforts end up making things worse. And that’s the other reason why politicians tend to steer clear of Africa — trying to help there is like punching a tar baby, and they don’t want to get dirty.

    When I was in the Peace Corps (not in Africa, but we were also dealing with poverty, corrupt government, lack of education etc.), one of the questions we volunteers used to debate was: can large-scale government programs do any good at all? It wasn’t a question that most of us came in with, I can tell you. But the things we saw of NGOs and their ineptitude really were incredible — programs with gobs of funding, staffed by bright college graduates like ourselves, but any one of us veteran PCVs could have told them several solid reasons why their program was completely futile. Part of the problem is ideological motivation (on the parts of NGO workers or the Washington bureaucrats who approve their funding.) But a lot of it is just that it’s really hard to build a targeted, top-down program to help a country in which so many things are broken all at once. A functioning society requires numerous functioning pieces working together at the same time. When half the pieces are broken, you can tinker with the fragments, but it’s pretty darn tough to get anything going.

    As for “strings attached” aid… I admit that this can be a tool for spreading stupid liberal ideologies, but consider. If you cut a large check to a corrupt government with NO strings attached, you’re just building the aristocrats some extra mansions or buying them yachts. A lot of the whole problem is that they don’t really care about their people, so just throwing resources at them is a complete waste.

    Anyway, for the record, I don’t think it’s impossible to help poor countries in any way, but it is very difficult. I think we’re pretty good at disaster relief-type aid. Other than that, I think the most helpful “aid workers” are people who are willing to put down roots in a community and live with them for years and years until they understand the local people and know what they need. Religious communities tend to be the most shining examples (if only because nobody else is willing to make an impoverished or war-torn country into their permanent home.) But that’s brick-by-brick help, as Fr. Z might say.

  22. C.L. says:


    It’s easy to succumb to feelings of negativity at the moment. The Pope and the Church are under attack in a way that, almost weekly, takes your breath away. But you have to remind yourself that we’ve had our backs to the wall before and we – the Church – cannot be prevailed against. We don’t need money to strengthen the Church either. We need to pray and be Christ-like in our daily lives – on the “ranch” or wherever. Remember: this team will win.

  23. Veritas says:

    No doubt about that…thank you for the comments. :) Which explains the constant negativity we witness. Still, there is so much bad info out there, we are losing souls. I sense that historically the Church in the US and the Church worldwide is only on the tip of a renewed persecution that will occur via slow coercion by the State. I hope readers of WDPTRS will stop and listen to \”what\’s happening here,\” i.e. the current and beautiful renewal we are witnessing in the Church and the vile reaction it fosters outside of Her.

    Africa, ironically, presents hope for the West.

  24. tertullian says:

    The secular media isn’t the only group disinterested. When was the WYD held in Africa?

    As far as Africa and the PRC is concerned, there is already a push-back occurring. The sale of commodities was tied to offset purchases of PRC goods (like cheap textile products) that drove down the prices available to locally owned enterprises that couldn’t compete, hence more unemployment.

  25. Immaculatae says:

    The Holy Father said wonderful things about the Priesthood. I am grateful that we can pray with the Holy Father (God bless EWTN) and receive His blessing. St. Joseph pray for us!

  26. Matt says:

    I have been to Africa for work, and I can tell you that the west really doesn’t care about Africa. The first telltale sign was the plane I rode to Nigeria in. It was an older boeing (don’t remember which). It had clearly seen better days. We were delayed because the back-up navigation system on the plane had broken and was supposedly “fixed” just before take of. My boss (who I was traveling with) that this is because the airline feels that if they lose a plane in Africa, it doesn’t matter. Then I went to several clinics and hospitals. They had insect and rat problems, but they could get as many condoms as they wanted from the UN. You could give them tons of AIDS medication (which is a good thing) but they still don’t have enough clean needles for everybody or even proper biohazard buckets.

    Some Africans look at this and think that the west is trying to exterminate them. I don’t share this view, but when you consider they don’t get something they actually need but they do get something that is designed for population control, their point of view makes sense.

    I urge all devout Catholics and non-Catholics who are in a position to give to an organization like Catholic Relief Services or Food for the Poor to do so. Because they aren’t get much actual help from the UN or USAID

  27. irishgirl says:

    JlovesR-I tried to livestream EWTN on my laptop computer at the library…doesn’t work.

  28. T. Falter says:

    Google “Margaret Sanger racist” and “eugenics racism” for some insight into the seeming disinterest in Africa by post-Christian Western society.

  29. Bryan says:

    irish girl:

    they may be blocking the stream at the library due to bandwidth issues. There are other places to listen to ewtn…such as many catholic radio stations that rebroadcast the TV feed.

  30. Danby says:

    Africa’s problem is a lack of Christ. When Christianity takes hold, the situation improves. Look at Uganda for an example. Back in the ’70s it was a basket case, approaching Zimbabwean levels of political and humanitarian disaster.

  31. mark says:

    Hey Danby. Moving to the ‘west’ from Africa (actually I went east, but that’s ok) I notice that there is increasingly a lack of Christ (self-evident). As we’ve observed what happens to a country in which there is a ‘lack of Christ’ i.e. directly observable in African countries, do you think then that a similar-type situation might occur or is occurring in the west. Or is the west too sophisticated today for that type of chaos and mass murder? Therefore, if this sophistication is part of the western make-up (notwithstanding the murderous last century of course),I guess that instead of say mass killing of people out of the womb, one could engage in mass killing in the womb and justify it by using sophisticated language like ‘choice’ and ‘rights’ and if you disagree, well you’re just ‘judgemental’ and ‘intolerant’.
    Overall, you are right just with a little/lottle addendum. “The whole world is crying out for Christ”.

  32. Mitchell NY says:

    not anymore…………thry (the media) are startin, and it is not support.

  33. Immaculatae says:

    Found myself wondering today whether Catholic schools have an interest in the Holy Father’s trip – so that the children might get to see some of it. As I was heading in to work today I was thinking that I know it was important to them to broadcast the “historic momoments” of BO’s swearing in ceremony so the children could observe it. Wondering if they feel the same about the Pope’s travels and teachings.

  34. irishgirl says:

    Bryan-there are no Catholic radio stations around here; just evangelical Christian. And I don’t think THEY would broadcast anything remotely Catholic!

    I have no Internet access in my home.

    Immaculatae-I say ‘fat chance’ that so-called ‘catholic’ schools would be tuning into the Holy Father’s trip to Africa. Sorry for sounding so pessismistic….they’re just as bad as the public schools!

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