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22 November 2010
Pontiff pontificates on condom conundrum
by George Atkinson

The Catholic Church may be about to reverse it's disapproval of condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS. At least, that's according to a new book which features a number of interviews with Pope Benedict XVI.

Significantly, while some Catholic Church leaders have spoken in the past about the limited use of condoms in specific cases to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, this is the first time the Pope has mentioned the possibility himself.

Specifically, the Pope was asked if the Catholic Church was not opposed in principle to the use of condoms. "She of course does not regard it 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," he replied.

Somewhat bizarrely, the Pope gives the example of the use of condoms by male prostitutes as "a first step towards moralization," although condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection."

Clouding the meaning, however, is another gnarly statement made by the Pope where he suggests that the "sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality" where sexuality becomes "a sort of drug that people administer to themselves."

The book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, is based on a series of interviews conducted by German Catholic journalist, Peter Seewald. It goes on sale this week.

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