Parliament Issues Formal Protest against Pope's Statement on Condoms

Country: Belgium

Date of incident: April 27, 2009

The Belgian Chamber and Senate overwhelmingly approve of two decisions that formally condemn the pope for having stated that the distribution of condoms will not help to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The pope’s position is called a “crime against humanity."

On the 2nd of April the Belgian parliament passed a resolution condemning Pope Benedict XVI for saying that the use of condoms may worsen the spread of AIDS. His statement ordered the government to "react strongly against any state or organization that in the future brings into doubt the benefit of using condoms to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus." The text voted by the Senate described the Pope's position as a "crime against humanity." The pope’s statement has been widely debated, but the Belgian resolutions mark the first time a country has lodged an official protest against the Vatican. The chief Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi called the resolution “astonishing,” adding it was “obvious the Holy Father should be free to express his own positions." Several studies by researchers and by international agencies, including the World Health Organization, show that the most effective anti-AIDS campaigns in Africa are these promoting abstinence and fidelity in sexual relations. Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, said that, "the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments." According to Green, when people use condoms with the belief that it will prevent venereal diseases they may also take part in riskier behaviour than they would take without preservatives, such as having multiple sexual partners (source: National Review Online). Read more at:,,4151126,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf