Why the Pope’s Comments on Condoms May Not Change Latin America’s Zika Virus Problem

The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency over the rapid spread of the Zika virus. Though our understanding of the virus is still in the early stages, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is linked to a high rate of birth defects. As a result, global health organizations have advised women in affected areas to avoid pregnancy. The recommended solution? Condoms.

But in Latin America, the heart of the outbreak, this is easier said than done, and you can thank the Catholic Church for that.

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Since the colonization of Latin America by Spain, the region has been heavily Catholic. With more than 425 million practitioners, the area is home to over 40% of the world’s Catholic population. Though more and more Catholics are leaving the Church for Protestant denominations, it still has significant sway when it comes to social norms and public policy — two arenas that serve as roadblocks as the region looks to combat the spread of the Zika virus.

One of the ways health workers are encouraging people to fight the spread of the virus is by using condoms. This packs a double whammy: no pregnancy means no potential birth defects and decreased likelihood of infection. Unfortunately, the Church’s hardline stance against contraception renders such a suggestion socially unacceptable. Leaders in the Church throughout Latin America have reinforced the idea, much to the chagrin of those seeking to combat the virus.

But then, on Thursday, Pope Francis made comments that seemed to soften the Church’s position.

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Bill to Punish “Insults to Religious Feelings” Withdrawn from Georgian Parliament

If you’ve heard discussions about the phrase “Happy Holidays” on Fox News, then you know that religious sentiments can be very delicate indeed. Eager to spare the sensibilities of the faithful from unpleasantness, one Georgian lawmaker recently proposed an anti-blasphemy bill.

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Pope Francis: Contraception “Not an Absolute Evil” in Battle Against Possible Effects of Zika Virus

While Pope Francis is getting plenty of attention for his slam on Donald Trump, it may be the other thing he said with more long-term ramifications.

Speaking to reporters earlier today, the Pope said that, since the Zika virus has been linked to children born with birth defects, maybe contraception isn’t such a bad idea after all.

That would stand in stark contrast to what local Catholic leaders in affected areas have said. They irresponsibly stuck to the party line opposing both birth control and condoms. But the Pope eased the rhetoric on the latter, suggesting it may not be the worst thing in the world, without actually saying anything of the sort.

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Bryan Fischer: Evangelicals Are Supporting Donald Trump Because of Satan

Why does Donald Trump have so much support from evangelicals? Simple. Because they’re taken in by his bravado and arrogance way more than they care about what he thinks when the doors are closed.

But Bryan Fischer is still under the assumption that evangelicals would vote for the most evangelicaliest candidate. So he’s stunned that they’re not going for Ted Cruz (or Mike Huckabee, when he was still in the race).

Don’t worry, though. He has a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this.

Satan caused it.

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Pope Francis on Donald Trump: “A Person Who Thinks Only About Building Walls… Is Not Christian”

When a reporter asked Pope Francis for his opinion on Donald Trump, you knew the response would get a lot of attention no matter what it was. And the pontiff delivered:

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