Pope's Aids comments defended ahead of Angola visit

The Pope’s representative in Angola has defended comments by the Roman Catholic head opposing the use of contraception in the fight against Aids.

Pope Benedict said earlier in the week that keeping to Church teaching on marriage, faithfulness and abstinence would help stop the spread of the disease.

The Pope’s comments were greeted with hostility from many activists, gay groups and the French and Belgian governments.

Dom Angelo Becciu, the Pope’s representative in Angola, said, "I think it's true what he said … It's too easy and it's very cheap to say the solution of Aids is the condom, you don't have the solution there," reports AFP.

"So what the Pope is saying is that we must surpass this, because Aids means there is a lack of understanding of the concept of true love between men and women … Because of that, many times we are not of the same thinking as NGOs."

Becciu added that the Roman Catholic Church does a lot of work to help those suffering from HIV/Aids in Angola.

He said, "We don't judge people about their sins and about their past. If you see people needy we want to help them. We don't care about their life, we care about their suffering."

Around 2.1 per cent of Angolans have Aids. Over 50 per cent of the country are Roman Catholics with most of the rest of the population practising indigenous beliefs.

The Pope is due to arrive in Angola on Friday. He is currently in Cameroon, which is the first stop on his maiden visit to Africa as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

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