Pope Benedict’s landmark acknowledgement that the use of condoms is sometimes morally justifiable to stop AIDS is valid not only for gay male prostitutes but for heterosexuals and transsexuals too, the Vatican said Tuesday.
The clarification, which some moral theologians called “groundbreaking,” was the latest step in what is already seen as a significant shift in Catholic Church policy. (Photo: The pope’s book in German (r) and Italian (l) displayed at a Vatican news conference, November 23, 2010/Alessandro Bianchi)
It came at a news conference to launch the pope’s new book, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times.”
In the book, a long interview with German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald, the pope made clear he was not changing the Catholic ban on contraception, but, using the example of a male prostitute, said there were cases where using a condom to avoid transmitting the HIV virus could be justified.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi made the clarification because the German, English and French versions of the book used the male article when referring to a prostitute, but the Italian version used the female form.