Pope Changes Stance On Condoms

pope Pope Changes Stance On Condoms

Pope Benedict XVI pictured in April 2010. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that condoms can be justified for male prostitutes seeking to stop the spread of HIV.

This statement is a stunning turnaround for a church that has long opposed condoms and a pontiff who has blamed them for making the AIDS crisis worse.  

The pontiff made the comments in a book-length interview with a German journalist, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times,” which is being released Tuesday. The Vatican newspaper ran excerpts on Saturday.  

Church teaching has opposed condoms because they’re a form of artificial contraception although it has never released an explicit policy about condoms and HIV. The Vatican has been harshly criticized in light of the AIDS crisis.  

Benedict said that for male prostitutes – for whom contraception isn’t the central issue – condoms are not a moral solution. But he said they could be justified “in the intention of reducing the risk of infection.”  

He called it “a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way of living sexuality.”  

Benedict drew the wrath of the United Nations, European governments and AIDS activisits when he told reporters en route to Africa in 2009 that the AIDS problem on the continent couldn’t be resolved by distributing condoms. “On the contrary, it increases the problem,” he said then.

© MMX CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • Mike Laird

    Another report that takes the words out of context to come to a ridiculous conclusion: “Pope changes stance on condoms”. A more accurate explanation from EWTN news:
    “In the excerpts, just two brief paragraphs provide the Pope’s response to a question on sexuality in the world today. He says that concentrating on the use of the condom only serves to trivialize sexuality. This trivialization leads many people to no longer see sex as an expression of love, but as a self-administered drug. The fight against the banalization of sexuality is part of a great effort to change this view to a more positive one.
    According to one much-commented excerpt printed in L’Osservatore Romano, the Pope concedes that there can be single cases in which the use of a condom may be justified.
    He uses the example of prostitutes who might use prophylactics as a first step toward moralization, that is, becoming moral. In such a case, condom use might be their first act of responsibility to redevelop their consciousness of the fact that not everything is permitted and that one cannot do everything one wants.
    While secular outlets such as Time Magazine characterized this remark as “a stunning turnaround” for the Church, Pope Benedict goes on to explain that this is not the true and proper way to defeat HIV. Instead what is necessary is the humanization of sexuality.”

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