POPE REJECTS CONDOMS FOR AIDS PREVENTION…. It hasn’t been a good month when it comes the Roman Catholic Church and reproductive health.

Two week ago, we learned of a 9-year-old girl in Brazil, pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather. Though there are strict restrictions on abortion in Brazil, doctors concluded that the girl’s immature hips made childbirth exceedingly dangerous. Catholic Church leaders unsuccessfully fought to force the girl to carry the baby to term and then have a cesarean. What’s more, as part of the debate, church leaders condemned a judge for following the law, lashed out at the doctors treating the victim, and even excommunicated the young girl’s distraught mother.

This week, Pope Benedict XVI took a line on reproductive health that was nearly as offensive.

Pope Benedict XVI said on his way to Africa Tuesday that condoms were not the answer in the continent’s fight against HIV, his first explicit statement on an issue that has divided even clergy working with AIDS patients.

Benedict arrived in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital, Tuesday afternoon to a crowd of flag-waving faithful and snapping cameras. The visit is his first pilgrimage as pontiff to the African continent…. Benedict said that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against AIDS.

“You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

Let me get this straight. There are nearly 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who are HIV positive. The pope, claiming to be a leader on morality, goes to Cameroon to argue against condom usage? He’s going to put his own religious dogma over the lives of millions?

A lot of phrases come to mind when describing all of this, but “pro-life” isn’t one of them.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.