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Critics took to the social networking site Facebook to voice their fury over Pope Benedict's remark that condoms do not prevent HIV.
Thousands have pledged to send the pontiff millions of condoms to protest the controversial comment he made to journalists as he flew to Cameroon last week.
"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."
Pope Benedict XVI has made it clear he intends to uphold the traditional Catholic teaching on artificial contraception. The Vatican has long opposed the use of condoms and other forms of birth control and encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.
About a dozen Facebook groups have sprang up, mostly from European countries, criticizing the pontiff.
Originally posted by Clairaudience
It is in fact a big deal, since many take the word of the pope seriously.
However, more than 75% of U.S. Catholics believe the church should allow the use of contraception, according to a recent Gallup poll (Roylance, Baltimore Sun, 4/10). Because U.S. Catholics tend to abide by the values they consider most important and "quietly ignor[e]" church teachings with which they disagree, many U.S. Catholics use birth control regularly, the New York Times reports (Murphy/Banerjee, New York Times, 4/11). In addition, Italy -- which is 97% Catholic -- has the lowest birth rate in all of Europe, and that rate has declined since 1978, when John Paul II became pope, according to the Sun (Baltimore Sun, 4/10).