Sunday, July 20, 2008

South Africa's Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier - My Cultural Hero

Nothing like a good intellectual debate to all those who make note of the societal problems that we have in various places around the world and then listen to the ideas that are introduced to address or at least control these problems.

I was introduced to Cardinal Napier from the show "International Dateline" on LinkTV. In the later part of the interview - see below - the conversation turned to the challenge of HIV and AIDS.

From his Wikipedia page:
Napier was born on March 8, 1941 in Swartberg, South Africa and ordained a priest in 1970. He first became a bishop in 1980 when he was appointed bishop of Kokstad. In 1992, he succeeded Denis Hurley as archbishop of Durban, a position he still holds. He chose as his episcopal motto the franciscan phrase pax et bonum which translated means "Peace and goodwill".

Cardinal Napier, who is black, is a member of the Episcopal Board of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Napier was proclaimed a Cardinal Priest of the Church in 2001 and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

In January, 2005, Cardinal Napier made controversial statements arguing that government programmes to distribute condoms were ineffectual in stemming the spread of HIV. Instead, he proposed programmes based around abstinence.

It is clear that condom distribution is the POPULAR solution to the HIV infection problem and the that the perspective held by Cardinal Napier cuts against the grain. I agree 100% with his assessment that the claim that people are too stupid to assess the risk of HIV infection absent a government condom is utterly offensive to their intellect. This is exactly what the proponents of condom distribution are suggesting.

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