Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Amazing Exercise In Vatican PR

Pope Benedict 'condones condom use in some cases'

BBC News - Europe - 11/20/2010

Pope Benedict XVI is reported to have said the use of condoms is acceptable "in certain cases".

In a book due to be published on Tuesday, he said they could reduce the risk of infection with HIV, such as for a homosexual prostitute. (This just so duplicitous and it's not funny.)

The pontiff is reported to have made the comments in an interview with a German journalist. The Vatican newspaper ran excerpts on Saturday.

The comments appear to soften the Roman Catholic Church's hardline stance. (Absolutely not. It does not soften the Vatican's hardline stance.)

When asked whether the Catholic Church is "fundamentally against the use of condoms", he is said to have replied, in the book entitled Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times:

"It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution.

"In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality," he told German author Peter Seewald.

Until now, the Vatican had banned the use of any form of contraception - other than abstinence - even to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. (In the case of homosexual prostitutes condoms are not a form of contraception. Nothing has changed. The Pope is playing PR games with people's lives.)

This has led to the Vatican being criticised for its position in the context of the Aids crisis.


I'm sure every wife married to an HIV positive husband or vice versa, is over joyed with the news that it's probably OK with Benedict for homosexual prostitutes to use condoms.  This is absolutely no change in the condom policy for heterosexuals.  Wait for the brouha this will cause in Africa.  I have to question what in the world Benedict or the Vatican actually thought they were accomplishing in this case.  This will be a PR disaster when all is said and done.

One last point.  In my mind this actually places the relative worth of women vis a vis their reproductive organs at a new low point in Catholic moral theology.


  1. "This just so duplicitous and it's not funny." I find this statement somewhat confusing. What Pope Benedict seems to be saying is that condom use for prevention of disease is OK but using them to prevent conception is not. I guess I get your point about women. So it would seem that an HIV positive man should definitely use a condom if he goes to a male prostitute (which he shouldn't do anyway since it is a sin) but he shouldn't necessarily used a condom with his wife.

  2. From what I read it appears that the Church is against condoms because they create a barrier between the man and woman and thus prevent a total giving of self. In the case of male/male relations the creation of a barrier is not seen as a bad thing on the part of the Church as it is protecting organs that shouldn't be touching anyway. I hope what I just said here makes sense.

  3. Mareczku your comment is perfectly understandable. What Benedict has done here is stated condoms might be used as a preventive health measure only in cases where pro creation is not a possibility--or maybe it's only in cases where pro creation isn't possible and AIDS is an occupational hazard.

  4. Really?

    Who cares?

    Way to engage with the real world Ratz.


  5. African homophobia will ensure that these remarks about male prostitutes will not affect the African bishops' line of "we say no to condoms" for married couples.

  6. Well done Colleen. You have made an excellent and balanced response in this post. Most of the newspapers and the general media interpretation are not spending time on the nuances of the pronouncement - I am sure we will hear more on this for a time.