Pope Benedict Uses the C-Word: Prostitutes May Wear Condoms to Prevent Spread of HIV
Today, the Vatican confirmed Pope Benedict XVI's statement that condom use is permissible for the prevention of HIV. The Pope's original statement, given in an extended interview with a German journalist for his new book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times (released today), cited the example of male prostitutes: “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, when this can be the first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.”
The Vatican clarified that the statement was meant in general, for men, women, or transsexuals. A Vatican spokesperson said the main point is that condom use is a first step in taking responsibility for the lives of others, but in a fitting double-standard, the Vatican still holds the position that condom use for birth control is immoral.
For many, the Pope's position doesn't have much bearing on their use of protection or birth control, but for African AIDS organizations serving Catholic populations, for example, the Pope's statement brings a long-awaited and welcome new resource for disease prevention. We can't help but wonder why the statement wasn't made sooner, given the still-astonishing number of people with AIDS. In fact, in 2009, Pope Benedict stated that distributing condoms would actually worsen the AIDS crisis.
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