So Pope Benedict is in Africa and as popes usually do when they visit places suffering from poverty, AIDS and overpopulation, reminded Africans and the rest of the world about the church's position on birth control - specifically condoms in this case, pointing out that they are the devil's balloons and prophylactics make Baby Jesus' Mommy cry etc etc -- then things got really stupid and he claimed that condoms had actually made the AIDS crisis in Africa worse.
Naturally, just about every public health NGO and antiAIDS group in the world has jumped on this with both feet and rightfully taken the pontiff to task. But what about our elected governments? Do they dare to criticize the Vatican? One does:
But XXXXXXXXXX, echoing the reaction of some aid agencies, said it "voices extremely sharp concern over the consequences of [the Pope's comments]."
"While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life," a foreign ministry spokesman said.
I know, you're thinking it must be Canada's brave science minister ---no way, too many Catholic voters in Quebec and Ontario! The Obama administration? Nope, can't alienate the Catholic vote and the family values crowd. Some heavily Protestant Northern European country? Atheist China? Cuba? Israel? Those godless heathens at the UN? Nope, none of the above.
How about massively Catholic France, where they know from separation of church and state and the people mostly take their theology with a dose of salt.