Pope Benedict’s surprising view that condoms can sometimes be used to fight AIDS has kindled a lively debate among Roman Catholic theologians and commentators about whether this amounts to a change in Church thinking.
The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. is founder and editor of San Francisco-based Ignatius Press, the North American publisher of “Light of the World.”
Pope Benedict’s qualified backing of condom use to help prevent AIDS marks a small breakthrough for efforts to fight the scourge in Africa, giving health workers and clergy more scope to broach a still-taboo subject.
(Photo: Brazilian gays in Sao Paulo protest against the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality, May 9, 2007. The posters read, “No more hypocrisy! Condoms and health”, and “Jesus loves gays”/Luludi-Agencia Luz)
The big surprise with Pope Benedict’s new book is not that he believes the Catholic Church can permit condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS in some circumstances, but that he took so long to say so.
Male prostitutes? Did Pope Benedict actually say that only male prostitutes can use condoms to avoid transmitting the HIV virus? Why did he limit this unsuspected flexibility only to men?
Here are some quotes from the English translation of Pope Benedict’s new book, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times”. The book, in question and answer format with the German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald, is due to be published on Tuesday in several languages.
(Photo: Haj pilgrims arrive to cast stones at pillars symbolising Satan in Mena, November 16, 2010/Mohammed Salem)
Saudi Arabia’s religious police keep such a low profile during the haj, it’s hard to imagine that you are in Islam’s holiest city.
The West is floundering in immorality and has no right to criticise the Islamist movement Hamas over the way it governs the Palestinian territory of Gaza, a veteran leader of the militant group said. Hamas strategist Mahmoud Al-Zahar told Reuters in an interview that Islamic traditions deserved respect and he accused Europe of promoting promiscuity and political hypocrisy.