ROME (Reuters) - The Vatican will soon publish a statement
on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, an issue
highlighted by a call from a leading cardinal to ease its ban
on them, a Catholic Church official said.
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the head of the Vatican's
Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, declined to reveal
the contents of the document in an interview published in
Sunday's la Repubblica newspaper, but said Pope Benedict had
asked his department to study the issue.
The former archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria
Martini, who was standard bearer for a moderate minority in the
conclave that elected the Pope last year, called for a reform
in an interview published in Italy on Friday.
The Vatican opposes condoms as a form of contraception, but
several cardinals have said in recent years that using them is
a lesser evil if the alternative is infection with AIDS.
"This is a very difficult and delicate subject that
requires prudence," said Mexican-born Barragan.
"My department is studying this closely with scientists and
theologians expressly assigned to draft a document that will be
issued soon," he said.
The Catholic Church, which runs many hospitals and
institutions to help AIDS victims, opposes the use of condoms
and teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage,
chastity and abstinence are the best way to stop the spread of
It says promoting condoms to fight the spread of AIDS
fosters immoral and hedonistic lifestyles and behavior that
will only contribute to its spread.
In his interview with the weekly L'Espresso, Martini backed
up his call for a change in condom policy by referring to cases
where one partner in a marriage is infected with AIDS.
"This person has an obligation to protect the other partner
and the other partner also has to protect themselves," he said.
The Church disapproves of sexual intercourse outside marriage.
Read the whole thing here. Interesting.