It doesn’t happen very often and it’s far too early to judge either implications or intent, but it looks as though the Pope has decided that condoms might not always be bad after all. Needless to say, it’s a horribly mealy-mouthed statement:
“In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of [HIV] infection, it can… be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality”
but a potentially welcome first step: it’s an admission that condoms can and do prevent HIV, something that sections of the Catholic church, under the Pope’s guidance, has often – horrifically - denied. So that’s a good thing. But the BBC reports that the Pope also said that “more humane attitude to sexuality, and not condom use, was the proper way to combat HIV infection.” So he’s still obsessed with what people do in the dark and still wants to control all our sexual lives. It’s all about morality, apparently. A ‘Catholic commentator’ (whatever that means) Austen Ivereigh said that the church has long held this view anyway:
If the intention is to prevent transmission of the virus, rather than prevent contraception, moral theologians would say that was of a different moral order.
What vacuous bullshit, I hardly know where to begin. In fact, I’m going to leave that until a later post.
Despite all these complaints, admitting that condoms prevent the transmission of HIV is an improvement on Ratzinger’s comments in Cameroon last year, where he claimed that condoms increase the problem of AIDS. It’s a step in the right direction, let’s see how it goes.