Sozzani was responding to the Pope’s visit to the West African country of Benin earlier this month, during which he called for “reconciliation, justice and peace,” and talked about the importance of charity. Sozzani basically accused him of being a pot calling all the charitable kettles of the world black, and posited that instead of just talking the talk, he should also walk the walk, sell off some of the Church’s considerable assets and put that money to good use. From her post:
If, as you have rightly said, on 13th of November charity is compulsory, could the Church donate some of its many treasures to help improve so many wretched lives?
Moreover, I agree with you, Holy Father, that AIDS sufferers have the right to be respected and receive cures especially in Africa, where the disease is most widely spread. So why not take into consideration measures of prevention and protection?
We’re impressed that a fashion editor is unafraid to be so forthrightly political — especially in an industry that thinks controversy and poverty in other nations is best used as a backdrop for fashion spreads. And Sozzani is right to question the Pope’s stance on AIDS prevention. The official Vatican policy is that abstinence, not safe sex, is the best way of avoiding the spread of sexually transmitted diseases — and that much is true. But during a 2009 visit to Africa, the Pope commented in a speech that the use of condoms “increases the problem” of AIDS — and science has proven time and time again that while using protection doesn’t eliminate rates of transmission, it does cut them down dramatically.
The Vatican has since clarified that sentiment, but clearly not enough to satisfy Sozzani’s desire that they do more to help people in need. To which we say, keep on fighting the good fight, Franca.