Top: An earlier line of condoms in France criticizing the Vatican
Bottom left: Condoomfabriek shop / Right: Pope Benedict
A Dutch sex shop is giving away 2,000 "Pope condoms" this weekend. The wrapper features the image of a Pope Benedict-like figure. The words "I said no! - We say yes" also appear on the wrapper.
De Condoomfabriek (The Condom Factory) says the condoms are intended to make a statement about sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and the Vatican's opposition to contraceptives.
The Vatican stance on contraception has drawn a lot of criticism.
The Pope sparked outrage during a visit to Africa when he said that condoms "increase the problem of AIDS." He also believes that the use of condoms leads to greater promiscuity. This runs contrary to scientific evidence which shows that condom use in fact lowers HIV risk and doesn't lead to increased sexual activity. The Pope's assertions were challenged by The Lancet .
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website offers concise info on the preventative benefits of condom use:
Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing heterosexual transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive. The ability of latex condoms to prevent transmission has been scientifically established in laboratory studies as well as in epidemiologic studies of uninfected persons at very high risk of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infected partners.
A shot was taken at the Pope's stance on condoms recently when a memorandum put out by Britain's Foreign Office included the suggestion that Benedict launch a Papal-brand of condom during his upcoming UK visit. The memorandum caused a diplomatic row and the Foreign Office ended up apologizing for the "foolish" document. The junior civil servant behind the condom idea was reportedly 'put on other duties.'