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Vatican signals major shift with latest condom comments

The Vatican says using a condom is lesser evil than transmitting HIV to a sexual partner.

Image: Pier Paolo Cito/AP/Press Association Images

THE VATICAN HAS CLARIFIED Pope Benedict’s recent comments on condom use, suggesting a major shift in papal teaching.

The Vatican’s senior spokesman said today that condom use by men and women was a lesser evil than transmitting HIV to a sexual partner, according to the Washington Post.

The Vatican said that the pope’s comments that using condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS was not just limited to the male prostitute example cited by the pontiff, but was also applicable for heterosexuals and transsexuals, Reuters reports.

In a book-length interview with a German journalist, the pope had said the Catholic Church did not regard condom use as “a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality”.

The clarifications have been welcomed by AIDs activists, with the head of the AIDS Vaccination Advocacy Coalition Mitchell Warren telling the Washington Post: “This is a great day in the first against AIDS… a major milestone”.

The BBC reports that in clarifying the pope’s comments, Lombardi said using condoms to prevent further HIV infections was the “first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship”.

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