When the Pope said that wearing condoms "can be a first step in the direction of a moralization" for in some circumstances, such as male prostitutes, many saw it as a long-overdue first step in the Catholic church’s acceptance of safe-sex practices. But something (or someone, rather) was missing from the statement: Women. Many thought the Pope’s comment implied that it’s acceptable to use condoms for disease prevention as long as a pregnancy isn’t being prevented. What about the 15.7 million women who are living with HIV around the world?
Well, now the Vatican says it’s a-OK for women to be protected by condoms, too. In an attempt to clarify the Pope’s comments on condom use, which appear in his new book entitled, Light of the World, a Vatican spokesperson told the press Tuesday that the Pope says this comment applies to women as well as men, and that it’s acceptable for condoms to be worn during heterosexual intercourse as well. Here’s Vatican spokesperson Rev. Frederico Lombardi’s quote as it appears in the Associated Press:
This is if you’re a man, a woman, or a transsexual. We’re at the same point. The point is it’s a first step of taking responsibility, of avoiding passing a grave risk onto another,” Lombardi said.
This is being interpreted as the Catholic church saying that the contraception that occurs from wearing a condom for heterosexual sex is a lesser evil than spreading disease if a condom is not worn. Now this is a huge step forward for the Vatican church and for the safety of millions of men and women across the world. Writes the Associated Press:
In Sierra Leone, the director of the National AIDS Secretariat predicted condom use would now increase, lowering the number of new infections.
The Catholic church is still opposed to contraception, though. One step at a time, I suppose.