His Bizarreness the Pope, Benedict XVI, has been visiting Africa of late. His trip has had a number of high points, such as these:
- A deadly stampede of people vying to see him.
LUANDA, Angola (AP) — The Portuguese news agency LUSA reported that two people were trampled to death in a stampede at a sports stadium on Saturday, before Pope Benedict XVI addressed young people.
- A truly deluded pronouncement that condoms actually make the AIDS problem worse
On the flight from Rome to Africa, Benedict had renewed the church’s objection to the use of condoms as a prevention against AIDS, going so far as to say the precaution actually “increases the problem” of H.I.V. infection.
- Instructions that believers should be dissuaded from other beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery.
On Saturday, at St. Paul’s, he addressed the accommodations of faith by some Africans who mix their Christianity with animism living “in fear of spirits, of malign and threatening powers.”
The pope asked rhetorically: “Why not leave them in peace? They have their truth, and we have ours.” He then answered that there was no injustice in presenting the ways of Christ to others, granting “them the opportunity of finding their truest and most authentic selves” and offering them “this possibility of attaining eternal life.”
What I find... oddly amusing... about that last one is that the witchcraft stuff bothers Benoit Seize not so much because people are being mistreated and killed as a result of accusations that they’re witches, but because he worries that belief in witchcraft is drawing them away from Jesus Christ. Why not leave them in peace? Why, because then their superstition will displace our superstition, and we can’t have that.
[Shakes head in wonder....]
“I am not a witch! And this isn’t my nose; it’s a false one.”