Kathryn Lopez

Sex sells, and the pope knows it. He saw the condom media frenzy coming.

In his book-length interview, "Light of the World," (with Peter Seewald) Benedict XVI warns of a "sheer fixation on the condom" that "implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love." He explains that "the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man's being."

Pope Paul VI formulated this healthy view of sexuality in opposition to the sexual revolution's power in his 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae." He saw the pervasive dangers for men, women, children and the institution of marriage that so-called "sexual freedom" represented. He saw the poison that the pill could inflict on society, introducing a false sense of liberation to natural law and human nature.

In a book released the same day as the papal tome, Sarah Palin hits similar notes in a candidly personal way. In "America by Heart," Palin writes, "It was the mid-1960s before divorce and single motherhood really began to take off in the United States. And it was another 20 years before the country really began to feel the effects of the decline of the family in rising crime rates, drug abuse, and long-term welfare dependency."

From here she goes straight to Katrina and the "horrific images" we all saw in New Orleans in the late summer of 2005. It wasn't just bureaucratic bungling to blame for the catastrophe. As Palin writes, "Hurricane Katrina revealed something other than government incompetence. It revealed a population of Americans dependent on government and incapacitated by the destruction of the American family. The victims of Hurricane Katrina we saw huddled at the Superdome were overwhelmingly poor and minority."

Kanye West may have called former president George W. Bush a racist, but, as Palin writes, "that knee-jerk reaction overlooked a few relevant and alarming facts. In a nation in which an astonishing 70 percent of African American babies were being born to single women in 2004, fatherlessness among poor African Americans in New Orleans was estimated at between 60 and 80 percent." She adds that New Orleans' murder rater was quadruple the average for similar-sized cities the year before the hurricane.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.