In a book by Peter Seewald A German Journalist; Pope Benedict XVI raises eyebrows and give hope in the war against AIDS. The Holy See said condoms maybe uses in certain circumstances like Male Prostitutes. From the AP via Yahoo News:
Roman Catholic believers and leaders in parts of the world most stricken by AIDS drew hope from Pope Benedict XVI’s recent comments on condoms, even if the Vatican took pains to explain that nothing has changed about its policy on contraception.
For those focused on battling the scourge of AIDS, the Pope’s message that condoms could be used in some limited cases came as a welcome surprise. Father Peter Makome, a Catholic priest in Zimbabwe, said he would spread the news.
“I’ve got brothers and sisters and friends who are suffering from HIV because they were not practicing safe sex,” said Makome, who works in the capital Harare’s Southerton Parish. “Now the message has come out that they can go ahead and do safe sex; it’s much better for everyone.”
Speaking to a German journalist whose book was excerpted in a Vatican newspaper Saturday, the pontiff reiterated that condoms are not a moral solution for stopping AIDS. But in some cases, such as for male prostitutes, he said their use could represent a first step in assuming moral responsibility “in the intention of reducing the risk of infection.
The news brought confusion. From London Telegraph:
While the shift was welcomed by Aids campaigners around the world, some theologians said it threw the spotlight on confusion over the Church’s stance on condom use.
They said the ambiguity of the Pope’s declaration could be a Pandora’s Box, convincing ordinary Catholics that condom use was now permissible in a much wider range of circumstances.
“It will from now on be harder than ever to justify the idea that condoms may not be used by married couples with discordant HIV status,” said Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, a British priest and leading moral theologian.
“The central point here is that such couples are not using condoms as a method of contraception, but rather as a means of preventing the virus spreading.”
He said that confusion on the question already existed in the Church and called for a “long overdue” statement from Rome.
The Vatican attempted to discuss the confusion. From the Wall Street Journal:
The Vatican, however, played down the potential impact the remarks might have on church teaching. “The pope’s thinking certainly can’t be defined as a revolutionary shift,” said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a lengthy statement issued on Sunday.
In the interview, the pope said condom use had become a “fixation” for some people, according to the English-language edition of the book viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The pope then added: “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants.”
” The pope added that the church remained opposed to any widespread use of condoms that “implies a banalization of sexuality.””The pope wasn’t taking a position on condoms in general,” Father Lombardi said. Instead, the pope “wanted to forcefully affirm that the problem of AIDS can’t be resolved merely through the distribution of condoms,” Father Lombardi said.
Father Lombardi acknowledged, however, that the pope had to “consider exceptional situations where the exercise of sexuality represents a real risk to someone’s life.” Having “disordered” sex isn’t morally justified, Father Lombardi added, but the use of condoms in such situations can “reduce the danger of infection.”
Some wonder is the church is making other changes in the including the role of women as clergy, homosexuals in the church From Thompson Reuters:
“The problem for the Church is that it takes only a small step in logic to go from using this argument for gay men to using it for heterosexuals, or widening it to other issues. British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell did just that in his reaction to the book, saying: “If the pope can change his stance on condoms, why can’t he also modify the Vatican’s harsh intolerant opposition to women’s rights, gay equality, fertility treatment and embryonic stem cell research?” Ivereigh said the pope’s comments could be an ice breaker in public discussion about Church policy on AIDS, shifting it from an unrelenting focus on the question “condoms yes or no.”