Pope Benedict’s acknowledgement that using condoms may be justified to stop the spread of AIDS did not signify a change in the Catholic Church’s ban on their use as contraception, the Vatican said Tuesday. (Image: Heading of statement on condom use, Dec 21, 2010/ Bollettino Sala Stampa della Santa Sede)
In a statement, the Vatican’s doctrinal department said there had been “erroneous interpretations” of the pope’s words which had caused confusion concerning the Church’s views on sexual morality. In a book published last month entitled “Light of the World”, the pope used the example of a prostitute to say there were cases where using a condom to avoid transmitting HIV could be justified as a “first step” toward moralization, even though condoms were “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”
Liberal Catholics welcomed the comments in the book but the conservative wing of the Church expressed concern and Tuesday’s statement appeared partly aimed at reassuring them.
The two-page statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (click here for full text in six languages) said the pope’s words on condoms had been “repeatedly manipulated for ends and interests which are entirely foreign to the meaning of his words.”
“The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought.”