What Kerry Kennedy knows for sure

Illustration: Luke Wilson

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Kerry Kennedy, on Meeting the Pope
In late 2005, Kerry Kennedy, the founder of the human rights organization Speak Truth to Power and the author of Being Catholic Now (Crown), met with Pope Benedict XVI. She asked him to consider changing the church's position on birth control, especially relating to AIDS prevention.

You never know when what you say or do will make a difference and why somebody in a position of tremendous power decides to take up an issue. As one of the largest providers of social services in the world, the Catholic Church is acutely aware of the AIDS pandemic. More than anything, I was hopeful that my words might be one more straw on the camel's back. The Pope could have said, "How rude!" but he said, "God bless you." I am grateful for that blessing. That was in November, and by April he announced that he'd formed a committee to look into the use of condoms. Maybe what I said had something to do it. I'll never know, but you always have to try.

As told to Tish Durkin