Aboard the papal plane to Africa this morning, Pope Benedict XVI met with the traveling press corps and defended the Church's work to combat AIDS. He said condom-distribution efforts just made things worse.
"One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem," the pope said, according to CNS' John Thavis, who was on the plane.
The pope also took a question about his supposed leadership solitude as an explanation for his recent controversial decision to "remit" the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops, one of whom is a longtime Holocaust-denier.
His reply: "I have to laugh a bit about this myth of my solitude. In no way do I feel alone. I am really surrounded by friends, close collaborators, bishops and laypeople."