The issue is AIDS. Church officials recently confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI had requested a report on whether it might be acceptable for Catholics to use condoms in one narrow circumstance: to protect life inside a marriage when one partner is infected with H.I.V. or is sick with AIDS.A great deal of HIV transmission in Africa occurs between married couples. By opening the door to contraception, even if just between spouses, the RC Church would be doing a great service to HIV/AIDS prevention agencies around the world that currently must battle the Church's teaching against contraception in their efforts to fight the spread of the disease.
Whatever the pope decides, church officials and other experts broadly agree that it is remarkable that so delicate an issue is being taken up. But they also agree that such an inquiry is logical, and particularly significant from this pope, who was Pope John Paul II's strict enforcer of church doctrine.
... Indeed, with regard to condoms, the only change apparently being considered is in the specific case of married couples. But any change would be unpopular with conservative Catholics, some of whom have expressed disappointment that Benedict has displayed a softer face now as defender of the faith than he did when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the papal adviser.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Condoms prevent the transmission of HIV -- even the Pope thinks so (maybe)
From the NYT: