Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

Sometimes a Jade Goody can trump a Pope

In the past few days Britain has mourned the passing of Jade Goody aged 27 who was famous, quite frankly, for being famous. This bubbly lass, who owed most of her fame to a variety of Big Brother reality shows, primarily the one where she had a major fall out with Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, was thrust into the forefront by the British media whom she encouraged to capture the final days of her fight against cervical cancer.

As a result of her gutsy and somewhat raw appeal the whole issue of cervical cancer has been highlighted which has occasioned a marked increase in testing among young women which will spare many of them premature death in the years to come. In addition the revenue earned from the media will provide her two young children with a first-rate education which was something that was denied her. An amazing achievement for a person who would not have been considered one of the great intellects of her street.

In stark contrast Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City, has been flying in the face of conventional medical wisdom and claiming that condoms exacerbate the problem of HIV/Aids.

As my regular readers will know I go to great lengths to encourage respect of all faiths and non-believers and as such this post must be seen in the light thereof. The seriousness of this issue unfortunately precludes us from ignoring what scientists confirm is clearly the wrong approach.

In terms of my understanding of the Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole, the perseveration of life is the number one priority. In this regard, and I look to you lot to correct me, it runs along the same lines as Judaism in that if a life is at stake then that takes precedence over the laws governing the religion. For example on a fast day, if the carrying out of the prescribed fasting would endanger a person’s life then that person is obliged not to fast.

In the case of sex I am aware that the Catholic Church does not provide for protection and encourages abstinence rather than precaution. This does not factor in the millions of Catholics who do sin — for want of a better word — and have sex outside of marriage or who would simply not like to procreate as a result of intercourse. This, without a condom, in today‚Äôs promiscuous world, is tantamount to playing Russian roulette, and accordingly the greater sin, to my mind, is endangering a person’s life.

The Pope is an incredibly well-known and respected figure and if he suggests to people that not wearing a condom is the right thing to do a substantially large number of people are going to believe that this is the best and — wrongly — safest way. Abstinence is ideal but it is not realistic. If that be so then you have to make sure that people know that the downside to not wearing a condom can be HIV/Aids and a material shortening of your life expectancy.

The irony for me in this post being that Jade Goody, an airy fairy lass, totally absorbed with fame could be a godsend to women who will now screen early for cervical cancer and thereby survive while the Pope who does an enormous amount of spiritual and charitable works and with the best intention in the world could be endangering the lives of many thousands of people.

What got me thinking about all this was a chat I had with CNBC presenter Tanya Ploner who caught our attention with the news that men do in fact have mastectomies. Tanya and her team are trying to help the corporates educate their staff while introducing programmes to assist therewith.

As in the case of the above two, information plays a vital part in what Tanya and her guys are doing and it is imperative that we not only assist them in promoting or correcting the message but ensuring that we remain wary of what it is that we are relaying to the public.

As set out above sometimes a highly respected and well-meaning individual can be more dangerous than the girl next door.