I thought this was going to be a link to the Onion, but it’s real:
After decades of fierce opposition to the use of all contraception, the pontiff will end the Catholic Church’s absolute ban on the use of condoms. He will say that it is acceptable to use a prophylactic when the sole intention is to “reduce the risk of infection” from Aids.
While he will restate the Catholic Church’s staunch objections to contraception because it believes it interferes with the creation of life, he will argue that using a condom to preserve life and avoid death can be a responsible act – even outside marriage.
Asked whether “the Catholic Church is not fundamentally against the use of condoms,” he replies: “It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution.
“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.”
He will stress that abstinence is the best policy in fighting the disease, but accept that in some circumstances it is better for a condom to be used if it protects human life.
Okay, so he still has a antiquated and judgemental view of human sexuality… hell, he is the Pope after all. But this is a huge step in the right direction. The Catholic Church is finally saying that the well-being of humans that are currently alive is more important that the potential human you’re stopping with a bit of rubber.
The theological logic is certainly screwy, like usual – it’s only okay because living gives you the potential to stop sinning later, not because living is more important than wasted sperm. But for right now, I don’t care. This will have a profound effect in AIDS ridden countries in Africa and potentially save many, many lives. It will also help with Catholics living in the U.S. as well though, as it is unfortunately also common here (here’s the symptoms if you are concerned you may have it). Not to mention this basically greenlights all Catholic couples to use condoms. I can see the logic now – “Well, we’re primarily using them to stop AIDS, damn that no-baby side effect!”
Though the cynic in me thinks this is just a PR move to get people distracted from the whole child-molesting scandal. Sorry Pope, haven’t quite forgotten about that.