CNN's Jack Cafferty: Catholic Church Must 'Drag Itself Out of the 13th Century'

Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator | NewsBusters.orgSeemingly not satisfied with bashing the likes of former President Bush or Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty took aim at a more international target on Wednesday’s Situation Room -- Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. He joined PBS’s Bonnie Erbe and the Washington Post’s On Faith webpage in attacking the pontiff’s recent comment against the effectiveness of condoms in reducing the spread of HIV in Africa. Cafferty used the standard left-wing talking point that the Church is stuck in the Middle Ages: “It’s time -- it is past time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century, or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th century.”

After quoting the pope’s remark, Cafferty summarized the Church’s overall message of “encouraging sexual abstinence as the way to stop the disease from spreading.” He then actually blamed this message indirectly for the spread of the virus: “Obviously, the message has not delivered the desired results in Africa -- 22 million people in Africa infected with HIV. Not to mention right here in our nation’s capital -- a new report shows that three percent of Washington, DC’s residents have HIV or AIDS....One official says Washington rates are higher than parts of West Africa, and on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.”

Speaking of Uganda, Cafferty may not be aware of how the African country reduced its HIV transmission rate in recent years. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet advocated an abstinence program which minimized the role of condoms. As a result, the HIV transmission rate went from 21% in 1991 to 6% in 2002. Despite this success, Cafferty’s ideological peers at the UN still try to push their pro-condom, pro-“sexual freedom” agenda down the throats of Africans.

The CNN commentator also must not have questioned why the DC rate of HIV infection is so high, despite the distribution of hundreds of thousands of free condoms in the federal district by health officials. The Catholic League made a similar point about the HIV rate in New York City being three times the national average, despite similar free condom programs. That’s progress in the 21st century!

The full transcript of Cafferty’s segment, which began 12 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour of Wednesday’s Situation Room:

JACK CAFFERTY: It’s time -- it is past time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century, or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th century. On his first trip to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI says condoms are not a solution to the AIDS epidemic, but, rather, make it worse. It was the pope’s first public comments on condom use, telling reporters that AIDS, quote, ‘is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problem,’ unquote. Huh?

Since becoming pope four years ago, Benedict has stressed that the church is on the front lines of the battle against AIDS, with the Vatican encouraging sexual abstinence as the way to stop the disease from spreading. Obviously, the message has not delivered the desired results in Africa -- 22 million people in Africa infected with HIV. Not to mention right here in our nation’s capital -- a new report shows that three percent of Washington, DC’s residents have HIV or AIDS. That translates to almost 3,000 people for every 100,000 population, and is a figure that represents what health officials call a severe epidemic. One official says Washington rates are higher than parts of West Africa, and on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.

Well, here’s the question: the pope says condoms aren’t the solution to AIDS; they make it worse. Is he right? Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. Just -- it’s just breathtaking. 

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center