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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Of a Shepherd in sync with the flock

In a rare re-statement of a long-held policy view, Pope Benedict XVI has said that condom use can be justified to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Last year the Pope Benedict said that condom use contributed little to preventing the spread of AIDS, asserting that only abstinence and fidelity did. Considering that the Pope made these remarks ahead of his first Africa tour, I found this statement rather disturbing.

Pope Benedict maintains that condoms were not “a real or moral solution” to the AIDS epidemic But in a rare exception to a long-held anti condom use policy, Pope Benedict has said that “there may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.”

Although limited, Benedict’s concession on condoms has cracked the door open for a wide ranging debate on the use of condoms as a critical tool in the campaign against the spread of AIDS among consenting heterosexual couples. In recent years, the Vatican has also faced criticism at some church-run health clinics in Africa. Health experts have noted that health care workers in church run health care facilities often ignore the teachings and distribute condoms.

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