The Pope has moved a teensy bit closer to sanity, recognizing that there are cases where condom use might be part of a strategy to reduce the incidence of STDS:
Pope Benedict XVI says that condom use is acceptable “in certain cases”, notably to reduce the risk of HIV infection, in a book due out Tuesday, apparently softening his once hardline stance.
In a series of interviews published in his native German, the 83-year-old Benedict is asked whether “the Catholic Church is not fundamentally against the use of condoms.”
“It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution,” the pope replies.
“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,” said the head of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics.
It’s a step, but an even smaller one than first appears. Male prostitutes don’t seem especially likely to listen to the Pope. Catholics who are married or in long-term relationships might be swayed, but the advice doesn’t apply to them — at least not clearly. It still seems as though the opposition to birth control trumps all, even a commitment to basic public health.