Shut up, Pope

74

You read that correctly, and let me reiterate: Pope Benedict shut up. Why use such harsh language? Well, this is not the first newspaper to use that phrase. Keep reading and you might be surprised.

The Associated Press reported last week Pope Benedict XVI said last month that condoms weren’t the answer to Africa’s AIDS epidemic and could make the problem worse, drawing criticism from many sides.

“France, Germany, the U.N. AIDS-fighting agency and the British medical journal The Lancet criticized the comments as irresponsible and dangerous. The Belgian parliament passed a resolution calling them ‘unacceptable’ and demanding that the government officially protest.”

Belgium’s ambassador to the Holy See lodged the formal protest April 15, prompting a strongly worded Vatican statement April 17.

Criticizing the Belgian vote, the Vatican said it deplored “the fact that a parliamentary assembly should have thought it appropriate to criticize the Holy Father on the basis of an isolated extract from an interview, separated from its context.”

The Vatican statement said the remarks had been “used by some groups with a clear intent to intimidate, as if to dissuade the Pope from expressing himself on certain themes of obvious moral relevance and from teaching the Church’s doctrine.”

This is the same pope who as a youth was a Nazi, the same pope who along with his predecessor tried to conceal the extent of child molestation by it’s clergy and has, in his short tenure, infuriated Arabs, Jews, women, gays and now medical professionals.

With this statement, he insults the world’s collective intelligence with his shrill stupidity on a major health issue of life-and-death importance in Africa, not to mention the entire planet. As numerous health professionals have said, his words harmed the efforts to educate people about HIV/AIDS. And as all intelligent people know, education is the only safeguard regarding HIV/AIDS.

Now to the title of this column: It goes back to 1975 when, after testifying for Philadelphia’s gay-rights bill, homophobic City Council President George Schwartz asked me as many insulting questions as possible. He finished with, “By gay, do you mean you do it with parakeets?” Yes folks, that’s what it was like fighting for gay rights in the 1970s. His stupidity was addressed by an editorial in the Daily News titled “Shut Up, George.”

So, in the spirit of and as a tribute to my good friends at the Daily News, I’m proud to point out stupidity, ignorance and intolerance and say, “Shut up, Pope.”

Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].