Catholicism Kills

In January, I wrote about how the Vatican had decided to lift the excommunication of Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson. After a worldwide avalanche of criticism, the church backtracked somewhat on this decision: Williamson is still welcomed back, although he’s been ordered to recant his views, which to my knowledge he has not done.

But last week brought some news that eclipses even that outrage: on his first papal trip to Africa, Joseph Ratzinger, a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI, said that distribution of condoms makes the AIDS epidemic worse:

While en route from Rome to his first stop, Cameroon, the Pope said that the condition was “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.”

Usually, I avoid rhetoric as pointed as the title of this post, but in this case, it is literally accurate: People will die from AIDS because of the ignorant nonsense being spread about by this pope. There are still millions of poor, uneducated African Catholics who put their trust in the proclamations of this pompous charlatan, and if they obey his advice to forsake condom use, it’s a mathematical certainty that some of them will end up infected with HIV because of it.

The African people cannot wholly be blamed for this. In impoverished, rural communities lacking anything like a modern educational system, it would be unreasonable to expect that everyone would have access to scientific information about the causes and spread of AIDS. But no such considerations attach to Benedict, who’s had the best education the Western world can impart, and who still chooses to repeat medieval superstitions rather than telling his flock the truth. He has extraordinary power to stop the spread of this deadly disease, if he chooses to use it, but is instead contributing to its spread. Africa is already burdened by enough superstitions that make treating epidemics difficult without this pope’s gross and reckless irresponsibility. (And lest you think Roman Catholicism is the only denomination this ignorant, the Russian Orthodox church has backed Benedict’s remarks.)

It’s not just atheists who are reacting with justified fury to these remarks. European governments, international aid agencies, and even Catholic scholars like Robert McElvaine, in an essay titled “Impeach the Pope” (which can’t be done, alas), have pointed out what a disgrace this pope is:

I am a Catholic and the idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me.

…the cardinal sin of the Catholic Church — a literally deadly sin, if ever there was one — is its opposition to birth control. Far from being, as the Church contends, part of its moral doctrine, this policy is, plainly, the immoral doctrine of the Church. The use of condoms is a pro-life position.

…Why does the Church persist in such a manifestly immoral doctrine? One suspects that it must be the usual twisted thinking about sex and women. The Church’s opposition to birth control is largely an outgrowth of its all-male composition and those males’ attempts to degrade women’s physical powers by asserting that women and the intercourse into which they supposedly tempt men are necessary evils (“It is well for a man not to touch a woman,” Paul instructed the Christians of Corinth), the only purpose of which is procreation.

Misogyny may not be “the Church’s one foundation,” but it is a major part of the base on which it was constructed.

Facing a fresh firestorm of criticism, it’s not too surprising that the Vatican has backed off – slightly. More accurately, they’ve attempted to rewrite the historical record by claiming that the pope only said that condoms “risk” aggravating the problem of AIDS. This revisionism was soundly rejected by reporters who were on the scene, but even if we grant it, it doesn’t alter the basic point: in Africa or any other AIDS-stricken region, condoms save lives. They are part of the solution, not part of the problem. Any ideologue who refuses to admit this has no legitimate place in the debate over how to put a stop to this terrible disease.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • snafu

    Another situation where Catholicism literally kills is where a woman has a medical situation that means falling pregnant will kill her and the baby (e.g. a difficult previous birth has left her uterus far too weak to carry another child to term). In this situation (unbelievably), the Church does not permit a married woman to have a sterilization – she is supposed to abstain for life.

    (Aside: we’re assuming no abortions are possible here. That’s ok, we all know the Church condemns them as well).

    Now in Western countries, this is a situation where the church “Teaches” it, but doesn’t “teach” it, if you follow my drift. You’ll never find such chilling views spouted from the pulpit. They’re written in the catechism…if you pushed hard, most priests would probably give the party line, but in practice it’s all blurred into “individual conscience” (contrary to clear Church teaching). The catholic sterilization rate is the same as the population at large, confirming that it’s all but ignored.

    However, it’s a different story if you’re in an African village where the only healthcare for 50 miles is provided by the Catholic church.

    Granted, this only affects a tiny proportion of all women. But it’s there, it’s real, and it makes me shudder somewhat.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    This reminds me of a story from 1.5 years ago:
    Shock at archbishop condom claim

    The head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique has told the BBC he believes some European-made condoms are infected with HIV deliberately.
    Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio claimed some anti-retroviral drugs were also infected “in order to finish quickly the African people”.

    If the Vatican has ever denied or corrected this claim by Chimoio, or disciplined him in any way for making such an outlandish (and biomedically untenable) claim, I have not read of it.

  • mikespeir

    He has extraordinary power to stop the spread of this deadly disease, if he chooses to use it, but is instead contributing to its spread. Africa is already burdened by enough superstitions that make treating epidemics difficult without this pope’s gross and reckless irresponsibility.

    Combine that with the Pope’s own holy text:

    Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. James 4:17

    How does he live with himself?

  • Brian


    In many cases that’s inaccurate. An abortion would often be supported by the Catholic Church if the situation can pass the principle of double effect (which appears in Natural Law Theory and, less explicitly, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church). The assumption that no abortions are allowed isn’t always a good one. Do some members of the Catholic church disagree with Natural Law theory? Absolutely. But I think for the most part Catholicism has its roots in Nat Law; thus, abortions are not always frowned upon (unfortunately, just most of the time).

    I think everything else you said was spot-on.

    As for the original post, it’s funny that it appeared on DA because not too long ago I read the article in my local newspaper and was equally horrified. It’s disgusting that people take the Pope’s unsupported OPINION as if it has some kind of merit. Every scientific study on sexual reproduction that I’ve seen contradicts the idea that condoms make things worse. Where’s the Pope’s actual evidence to back up his claim? Nowhere. That’s why the Vatican is trying to clean up his words with the quantifier, “risk.”

    The issue comes down to the Pope’s solution to the problem: abstain from having sex. As good as the idea may seem, studies show that sexual abstinence programs just don’t work. Those who advocate sexual abstinence to control problems like STIs and unwanted pregnancies waste millions of dollars every year on programs that have little to no long term effects.

    “Just don’t have sex” is about as useful as the drug campaign slogan “just say no.” In my opinion, refusing to accept the scientific research for unsupported dogmatic beliefs, and then imposing that ignorance on others, is nothing but immoral.

  • snafu

    Brian -

    Yes…I see exactly where you’re coming from…I think the point stands that to most observant Catholics, the statement “Abortions are always immoral” is true.

    I think in the situations that would pass double-effect (e.g. removing a cancerous uterus that also happens to contain a foetus), the tendency would be to call the procedure something other than “an abortion”. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and using their terminology.

    But I’m no expert, and I’m writing a blog comment not a philosophy textbook. We both appreciate that we’re splitting hairs…


  • snafu

    Brian -

    Here we are…from the catechism itself. I guess if “abortion” means “willed destruction of the embryo/foetus”, then the Church is always against anything that intends this result. All other scenarios would be labelled as a different intended act (e.g. curing cancer).

    This is way off topic, so I’m going to shut up now.


    2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

  • Brian

    @ Snafu

    “I guess if ‘abortion’ means ‘willed destruction of the embryo/foetus,’ then the Church is always against anything that intends this result. All other scenarios would be labelled as a different intended act (e.g. curing cancer).”

    I agree with you 100%. I merely pointed out that the overgeneralization—if a pregnant mom has some kind of cancer, then Catholics would say she cannot remove the cancer if it’s harmful to the fetus—is unwarranted in certain cases.

    I’d hate for Catholics to be reading this blog thinking that Atheists aren’t at all familiar with their system of morality, and I wanted to clarify that’s not the case.

  • Ebonmuse

    I merely pointed out that the overgeneralization—if a pregnant mom has some kind of cancer, then Catholics would say she cannot remove the cancer if it’s harmful to the fetus—is unwarranted in certain cases.

    I would note that whatever the church says, their actions tell a different story: they are against abortion in all cases, even when it means the life of the mother. Consider the recent outrage of the excommunication of the Brazilian doctors who performed an abortion on a nine-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather. The mother was also excommunicated; the stepfather was not.

    Although there was no realistic chance the girl would have survived carrying the pregnancy to term, making this a clear example of double effect, the Catholic church still chose to punish those who were involved. The church’s indifference to her life speaks volumes about their lack of respect for humanity in general and for women in particular.

    EDIT: Another example that comes to mind is El Salvador, where the Catholic church strongly supported – and successfully lobbied the government to pass – a law that bans abortion under all circumstances, no exceptions, not even to save the mother’s life. Even in cases of ectopic pregnancy, which have no chance of producing a living child and pose a critical threat to the mother’s life, surgical abortion is forbidden until after the fetus is dead and the mother’s Fallopian tube has already ruptured. Again, whatever the church claims their position to be, the evidence clearly shows that if given the chance, they will outlaw abortion altogether and leave women to die.

  • snafu

    Brian – it sounds like both you and I are more than reasonably well read on the topic. I agree that you do read some Catholic-bashing atheists that really make no attempt to engage with the real teaching.

    Ebon – I haven’t looked into the Brazilian case in detail, but I have seen the counterargument floated that the 9-yo could have had a Caesarean, thus getting around the small juvenile hips, and carrying to term. Is there any expert opinion around on that?

    (Please, no-one get the idea that I’m condoning this option…I’m not).

  • Greta Christina


    I also want to add my two cents on the “why is the Church so adamant against birth control?” question raised in McElvaine’s “Impeach the Pope” piece. I think general misogyny is part of it. But I think the lion’s share of the blame goes to the desire of the Catholic Church to perpetuate itself, regardless of the human cost. The Church isn’t stupid: they know that conversion of adults is difficult and not that common, and they know that conversion of babies and children is easy- shmeezy. “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man,” and all that.

    To put it bluntly: They want lots of babies born to Catholic parents, so those babies will grow up and become Catholic, so they’ll have lots of babies, and so on…. so the Church doesn’t have to be the irrelevant, monstrous relic of the Middle Ages that it so clearly is.

    And if that means the uncontrolled spread of a terrible, fatal disease, so be it. McElvaine is right: it’s glaringly obvious to anyone with a heart that the “pro-life” position here is condoms condoms condoms. But the Church is not going to give an inch on the birth control issue. They know that if they do, they’ll be dwinding towards nothing in a couple of generations.

  • Brian


    Their actions are as contradictory as their belief system. No surprise there. If you get your knowledge from revelation and can make things up as you go along, the whole system is bound to fall apart.

    As Greta mentioned, if they want to eliminate their moral contradictions, they must eliminate the misogyny. But once that’s gone, what’s left?

    Bigotry is an obvious propellant for the church—without it, the church falls apart. Hell, I would not be surprised to learn if the church changed its position on contraception as a desperate attempt to maintain its followers.

  • Justin

    Usually, I avoid rhetoric as pointed as the title of this post, but in this case, it is literally accurate: People will die from AIDS because of the ignorant nonsense being spread about by this pope.

    What I find ironic about the Pope’s remarks, (not in a ha-ha sort of way, but a deadly irony) is that this Pope has repeatedly said that the world cannot have have hope without belief in a God, yet the Pope has almost certainly contributed to worsening the AIDS crisis.

  • Nurse Ingrid

    @ snafu: “I have seen the counterargument floated that the 9-yo could have had a Caesarean, thus getting around the small juvenile hips, and carrying to term.”

    For starters, labor and delivery are hardly the only problems with a 9 year old carrying a twin pregnancy to term. The juvenile uterus and cervix are not fully formed and would have a lot of trouble supporting the weight of two full term fetuses. She would have a very high risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, or stillbirth. Also, pregnancy changes the body quite drastically — the woman’s blood volume doubles, for example. I don’t work in obstetrics, but my understanding is that a nine year old’s heart wouldn’t really be equipped to handle that, which could overload her circulatory system and cause heart failure. She would also be at much greater risk for iron deficiency anemia, which greatly increases her risk for pregnancy complications and death.

    Here’s a summary of the risks of pregnancy and childbirth in women under 20 from the Johns Hopkins website:

    Hope that answers your question. And I hope that illustrates for everyone the problems that arise when matters of sexual and reproductive health are dictated to the world’s poorest women by a bunch of celibate old men who don’t know the first thing about basic women’s physiology.

  • Theo

    Did you hear the advice that the Holy One had for the people of Angola, some of whom still (gasp!) believe in witchcraft?

    “So many of them are living in fear of spirits, of malign and threatening powers. In their bewilderment they even end up condemning street children and the elderly as alleged sorcerers.” (Reuters)

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

  • Norris Hall

    John Paul the First, once revealed in a public audience in 1978:

    “. . . this morning, I flushed my toilet with a solid gold lever edged with diamonds and at this very moment, bishops and cardinals are using a bathroom on the second floor of the papal palace which trappings, I am told, would draw more than fifty million dollars at auction . . . Believe me, one day, we who live in opulence, while so many are dying because they have nothing, will have to answer to Jesus as to why we have not carried out His instruction, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ We, the clergy of the Church together with our congregations, who substitute gold and pomp and ceremony in place of Christ’s instruction, who judge our masquerade of singing His praises to be more precious than human life, will have the most to explain.”

  • Twin-Skies

    Longtime lurker, first-time commenter here. I ran into these replies on Friendly Atheist, and was wondering what your take on it would be:

    Harvard Researcher agrees with Pope on condoms in Africa

    AIDS and the Churches: Getting the Story Right

    Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about Mr. Green’s arguments I can’t fully agree with.

  • bassmanpete

    Greta, I agree entirely, I just wish I could put my thoughts into words as eloquently as you do. The Catholic Church (any church really) is a business, and they’re out to keep their market share.

    Norris, from what I’ve read, I have the feeling that if John Paul I had lasted for a few years, the Catholic Church would be a vastly different beast from what it is today. It was a mockery that his successor took the same name, they had completely different viewpoints. Does anyone think JP I was murdered, as suggested in the book ‘In God’s Name’ by David Yallop?

  • Ebonmuse

    Twin-Skies: Since Green doesn’t cite any actual studies demonstrating that condom use is ineffective against AIDS, there’s not much to rebut. However, there is at least one thing he says that is flat-out false:

    One country, Uganda, recognized these issues and said, “Listen, if you have multiple sex partners, you are going to get AIDS.” What worked in Uganda, a country that has seen a decline by as much as 2/3 in AIDS infections, was that officials realized that even aside from religious and cultural reasons, “no one likes condoms.” Instead of waiting for “American and European advisors to arrive,” Ugandan officials reacted and developed a program that fit their culture; their main message being “stick to one partner or love faithfully.”

    This is a total inversion of the historical record: Uganda is actually an excellent example of how condom use, as part of a comprehensive program of sex education, reduces infection rates, and how abstinence-only teaching is dangerously ineffective. In the 1990s, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni instituted a comprehensive program that included teachings promoting monogamy and sexual fidelity, as well as the distribution of free condoms. According to Avert, an international AIDS charity, this program experienced demonstrated success, reducing the country’s rate of AIDS infections by 10% (source).

    Then, in the early 2000s, an anti-gay, anti-condom preacher named Martin Ssempa gained the ear of the government. (He was probably helped by the fact that Uganda’s first lady, Janet Museveni, had recently converted to right-wing evangelical Christianity.) He succeeded in getting the comprehensive program stopped and halting the distribution of condoms, and as a result:

    AIDS activists arrived at the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto in 2006 with disturbing news from Uganda. Due at least in part to the chronic condom shortage, HIV infections were on the rise again. The disease rate had spiked to 6.5 percent among rural men, and 8.8 percent among women—a rise of nearly two points in the case of women. “The ‘C’ part [of ABC] is now mainly silent,” said Ugandan AIDS activist Beatrice Ware. As a result, she said, “the success story is unraveling.”

    Stephen Lewis, the United Nations’ special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, told the New York Times their activism is “resulting in great damage and undoubtedly will cause significant numbers of infections which should never have occurred.”

    See also.

  • Gino Barcal

    The Atheist Counter-History

    Behind the pacifist and loving speech, the majority of the religions promote in fact the destruction of everything that represents freedom and pleasure. They hate the body, the desires, the sexuality, the women, the intelligence and all the books, except one. The religions promote the submission, the chastity, the blind and conformistical faith on behalf of a fictitious paradise after the death.

    Only an atheistic person can be free, because the idea of a god is incompatible with the freedom of the human being. The idea of a god promotes the existence of a divine dimension, which denies the possibility to choose your own destination and to invent your own existence. If god exists, the Is is not free; on the other hand, if god does not exist, the Is can be free. The freedom is never given. It is acquired day by day. However, the basic principle of a god is an inhibiting impediment of the autonomy of the man.

    It means that when a person does not content himself only in believing dully, but starts to make questions on the sacred texts, the doctrine, the teachings of the religion, there is no way not to reach these conclusions. It is about not to leave the reason, with capital R, in second plan, behind the faith, and to give to the reason the power and the nobility that it deserves.

    The mechanism of the religions is of an illusion. It is like a mysterious toy we try to decipher by breaking it. The enchantment and the magic of the religion disappear when we see the mechanism and the reasons behind the beliefs.

    The priests are limited to use only one handful of words, texts and references that allow to better assure the control on the bodies, hearts and souls of the followers. The mythology of the religions need simplicity to become more efficient. The religions make a permanent promotion of the faith, the belief before the intelligence and the reason, the submission of the followers against the freedom of the independent thought, the darkness against the light.

    The necessity of cultivate culturally a god is based in ridicules ideas. We don’t have nothing in the brain beyond what we put in it. Have you seen a child believing in gods? Religions and gods are human beings inventions, just like philosophy, arts and metaphysics. These creations have been made to answer the necessities of confront the anguish of the death; But, we can react in other ways: For example, using the philosophy.

    The believe in a god is an impotence signal. We must be conscious of our possibilities. When we cannot prove something is necessary to recognize these limitation and not make concessions to tale-stories or mythology. The idea of the divine child is a species of infantile illness of the reflective thought.

    The majority of the people is allured by the elected icons of the media, and believe more in them than in the physical truth. The truth is that the role of the religions was not the best one: Attacks against Galileu, genocide during the crusades, the Muslim radicalism, silence before the holocaust, etc. What history show is that the religions instead promoting peace, love, fraternity, friendship between the people and the nations, for the most part produced most of the time the opposite. It does not seem very worthy that the monotheists generated some good here and there. In compensation, they generated extreme human barbarity; and this seems much more important as prove of the impotence of the doctrines.

    We cannot make much about it, except to say what it is truth. The Christians have little moral to disapprove old truths, when they themselves promote old errors until today. The philosophy can allow each one of us the comprehension of what is the world, of what can be our morals, our justice, the rules of the game for a happy existence between the humans, without the necessity of appealing to a god, to the holy ghost, to the sacred one, to the skies, to the religions. It is necessary to pass from the theological age to the age of the mass philosophy.

    The weakness, the fear, the anguish before the death, are the sources of all the religious beliefs, and they will never abandon the humanity.

    The history of the Christianity has just as much value as the mythology of Santa Claus. It is in the same level of the fairies stories, where the animals talk and the witches eat little kids. A thought that only serves the children.

    It is necessary to allow the free construction of ourselves as independent beings. To develop the counter-history of the atheist, sexualist, hedonist and anarchist philosophy.

    Gino Barcal

  • Tommykey

    And I hope that illustrates for everyone the problems that arise when matters of sexual and reproductive health are dictated to the world’s poorest women by a bunch of celibate old men who don’t know the first thing about basic women’s physiology.

    Ingrid, getting advice on human sexuality from a priest is like consulting a stone age tribesman in the rain forest on automobile maintenance.

  • Brian


    Those articles are no more convincing than the Pope coming out with the message that no one should have sex. Let me see the actual data; let me see the evidence.

    A crude search on google scholar for “condom effectiveness” will get you loads of current scientific research backing up the claim. Search for “condom ineffectiveness” and you get few articles (let alone current articles) with research showing the ineffectiveness of condoms.

    This doesn’t prove the Harvard researcher wrong, but it does demonstrate that the science is out there, and the data are plentiful. The Pope and others have hundreds of studies to investigate and ample data to analyze if they want to show us some scientific evidence to back up their claim.

    When the Pope puts together controlled scientific studies to back up his claim, then maybe his remarks will be worth considering. Until then, to encourage safe sex practices spring for some education (for example, why aids spreads and how to prevent it) and offer behavioral skills training (an aspect of that would be condom use: “here’s a condom, this is how to use it”).

    We’d be horrified if doctors prescribed medication with no data/evidence to support its efficacy. We’d be outraged if psychologists made up or used ineffective therapies to treat mentally ill individuals. Thus, we should be equally disgusted by the Pope’s prescription of (ineffective) abstinence-only teaching.

  • LiquidThinker

    Well, I sort of attributed (as one factor anyway) the Pope’s obvious moral confusion to trying to get his morals from the Bible. That book is a complete mess as far as getting any sort of moral direction or examples of good moral behavior.

  • Nurse Ingrid


    “I think a celibate Italian weirdo knows a lit-tle more about sex than you do!”

    (Ned Flanders, in character as Sir Thomas More, to Homer Simpson as Henry VIII)

    (Of course, now it’s a celibate German weirdo. Same difference.)

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  • OMGF

    Sort of off-topic, but…

    Speaking of Catholicism

  • LeeJH

    The pope isn’t ignorant, although he is lying. Like George W Bush, he’s simply bending the world towards the way he’d like it to be – regardless of the facts. He knows that his methods don’t work, but only cares that people at least try to act ‘morally’ as he wants them to – even if they overwhelmingly fail.

  • Rob

    I really don’t understand why the Catholic church is still taken seriously. The church as an institution had a cover-up of large numbers of priests raping kids, a Pope in fancy robes living in a palace telling us not to be greedy, the excommunication of a 9-year old and not the thing that raped her and now this, all in the past few years. The church also claims to be on the side of science, yet they make these utterly debunked claims regarding abstinence-only education and birth control. Why does anyone give them any respect or money? Why haven’t countries expelled their Vatican ambassadors?

  • Ebonmuse

    On this topic, The Lancet has accused the pope of “distorting scientific evidence” in the debate over condom use.

  • nfpendleton

    “I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.”

    –George Carlin

  • Adam

    Since Green doesn’t cite any actual studies demonstrating that condom use is ineffective against AIDS, there’s not much to rebut.

    He’s written whole book on the subjects
    “AIDS and Ideology”
    “Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries”

    You make it sound like he’s just making the stuff up. He’s also quoted as saying:

    “There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.”
    (related cite:

    What needs to happend is that we need to treat people as people. Reason with them and show them there is a better way to live, respectful of themselves and others.
    Right now in these african countries men’s way of thinking is, “I can do what ever I want to women because they’re an object for my lust…even my wife is an object to my lust”

    The CDC agrees :
    (related cite:

    It’s a common-sense message whether you’re in Africa or dealing with hormonal American teenagers. It’s a hard message to hear over the same-old silly debates, parodies, and dismissals. But if the mind set of African men does not change, throwing condoms is not going to solve the problem…it’s like using bandaids to try and fix open heart surgery

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  • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

    I was reading responses and found #6 to be delightfully unenlightened. There was no Roman Catholic Church, nor even a Christian religion before the Emperor Constantine I in the East called his Council of Nicaea to meet in 325. Only then, as the Arian bishop (overseer of a community) wrote in Vita Constantini IV:36-37, did the emperor create his (not Jesus’) “catholic [universal] church”. Later, it would be Constantine who would command the writing of the first 50 bibles (today we have at best only the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sianiaticus, but they are copies as the original 50 have been lost (or were burned as Constantine had a long history burning books, especially by the priest Arius). There was no canon against abortion, as that comes nearly a millenium later, and the early communities of “christianos” and “chrestianos” were divided as to the nature of Jesus (man, ghost, god, etc) and whether or not he would return in their lifetime as a warrior (Matthew 10:37) or just a phantom. The nonsense dribbled by Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) is more in keeping with the fantasies and barbarities of his day as a Nazi youth, than any true intellectual discourse or pronouncement. Your site is interesting.