Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pope ‘publicly distorted’ science in condom row

Middle East Online, March 27, 2009



The Lancet demanded Benedict make a retraction

One of world’s top medical journals accuses Pope of distorting scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine.

PARIS - One of the world’s top medical journals accused Pope Benedict XVI on Friday of having distorted scientific evidence in his remarks on condom use and demanded he make a retraction.

“By saying that condoms exacerbate the problem of HIV/AIDS, the Pope has publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue,” The Lancet said in an editorial.

“Whether the Pope’s error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear.

“But the comment still stands, and the Vatican’s attempts to tweak the Pope’s words, further tampering with the truth, is not the way forward.”

The London-based journal added: “When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record.

“Anything less from Pope Benedict would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates, including many thousands of Catholics, who work tirelessly to try and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide.”

The pope made the controversial remarks last week when he travelled to Africa, the worst-hit continent for AIDS.

AIDS is a tragedy “that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems,” the pope said aboard his flight to Cameroon.

US Catholic bishops warn of Reiki therapy

Meanwhile, The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has warned Roman Catholics to shun the eastern healing art of Reiki because it lacks scientific credibility.

“Reiki therapy finds no support either in the findings of natural science,” said the USCCB doctrine committee in a document issued Thursday.

In health terms, using a therapeutic technique that has no scientific basis “is not generally prudent,” said the eight bishops on the committee, which in the past has issued guidelines on how to minister to “persons with homosexual inclinations” and frequently asked questions about why only men are ordained.

“There is a radical difference between Reiki therapy and the healing by divine power in which Christians believe: for Christians the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord and Savior, while the essence of Reiki is not a prayer but a technique,” the bishops said in a statement.

A survey conducted in 2002 by the US National Center for Health Statistics and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) found that more than 2.2 million US adults have used Reiki for health purposes.

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