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Pope's AIDS remarks cause a storm in France

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Pope's AIDS remarks cause a storm in France


Pope Benedict XVI arrives back in Rome today after his two-nation African tour. He ended his trip with an open air mass in the Angolan capital Luanda attended by more than a million people.

Addressing the crowd he challenged Africans to cast aside the “clouds of evil” of wars, corruption and tribal strife and forge a new path to peace and prosperity. Marco Politi, a Vatican expert, compared the Pontiff’s philosophy to that of his predecessor. “Jean Paul II had a very charismatic way to get into contact with the people,” he said, “but when it comes to dogma and doctrine he was in the same line as Pope Benedict.” The Pope’s controversial statement that condoms offered no solution to the AIDS crisis in Africa led to protests outside Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. Eric Marty, organiser for the AIDS awareness group Act Up Paris, said: “Telling people in Africa that condoms make AIDS worse, it’s just not possible. It’s an insult for those who suffer from AIDS and an insult to the millions who have died from AIDS.” But Pope Benedict’s supporters were also out in force. “We agree with the Pope. We don’t think the condom is a solution,” said one. “People give out condoms everywhere in Africa but it hasn’t stopped AIDS,” added another. The Pope’s comments have been criticised by French politicians from all parties and two surveys at the weekend showed 43 percent of French Catholics wish he would step down.

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