Now, look at that. A few days ago there were rumors about the Pope changing his stance on condom use – only in certain cases – such as for male prostitutes to prevent disease infections.
The question was just how far would the Catholic Church be stretching Pope Benedict’s words that are printed in a yet to be released book called Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.
My guess was: not too far. But it may eventually lead to a more open position of the Catholic Church towards condom use. But apparently, I was wrong assuming this. On Tuesday the Vatican issued some clarification broadening the scope of the pope’s earlier comments about condoms being a lesser evil than transmitting HIV by saying the concept also applies to women.
Now that is a serious change in the Catholic teachings that AP summarizes like this:
Using a condom is a lesser evil than transmitting HIV to a sexual partner – even if that means a woman averts a possible pregnancy, the Vatican said Tuesday, signaling a seismic shift in papal teaching as it explained Pope Benedict XVI’s comments
Obviously, condoms are still not the only way to have a sexual relationship according to the Church:
In the light of this broad and profound vision of human sexuality and the problems it currently faces, the Pope reaffirms that ‘the Church does not, of course, consider condoms to be the authentic and moral solution’ to the problem of AIDS.
In this the Pope does not reform or change Church teaching, but reaffirms it, placing it in the perspective of the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility.
At the same time, the Pope considers an exceptional circumstance in which the exercise of sexuality represents a real threat to another person’s life. In such a case, the Pope does not morally justify the disordered practice of sexuality but maintains that the use of a condom to reduce the danger of infection can be ‘a first act of responsibility’, ‘a first step on the road toward a more human sexuality’, rather than not using it and exposing the other person to a mortal risk.
Which in fact means that the Church is still not a big fan of condoms, but it accepts the reality that condoms can save lifes and that they are an important part of preventing the spread of HIV and other diseases. So yes, you’re ok to use condoms according to the Catholic Church and you should definitely take care of your own life and of the life of other people around you.
By the way, the Catholic Church of Lucerne in Switzerland even started a campaign and distributed condoms on a square in front of the train station. Before any of this interview was published.