POPE WATCH

France Criticizes Pontiff

Echoing the outrage of aid agencies around the world, the French Foreign Ministry today said Pope Benedict’s statements condemning condom distribution were “a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life.” Before his arrival yesterday in Cameroon, the pope reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s stance against contraceptives, saying condoms actually worsen the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. His statement runs contrary to a number of studies that have found that condoms slow the spread of the disease. France, with its rich secular tradition, is the first nation (and probably not the last) to openly criticize the pope’s comments.