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The Pope Did Acknowledge that Condoms Can Help Prevent the Spread of HIV

December 21, 2010


Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sought to clarify the pope’s comments on condom-use.

“The statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith today on condoms and what the pope did or did not say changes nothing about the significance of Pope Benedict’s initial game-changing remarks.

“In Light of the World Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged for the first time that condoms can play a role in the fight to prevent the spread of HIV. That was groundbreaking and will make a major difference to those involved in the fight against HIV. The Congregation’s statement today does not change that.

“Catholics for Choice is clear that the pope’s continued worldview regarding sex and sexuality remains seriously out of touch with the practices and beliefs of the majority of Catholics around the world. Whether Pope Benedict likes it or not, Catholics already believe that condoms help prevent the spread of HIV.

“What is clear is that over the short few weeks since his remarks conservatives have been scrambling to try to shore up the ultraconservative mantra that condoms do not help prevent the spread of HIV — a myth that was debunked by none other than the pope. The statement today is a desperate attempt by those in the Vatican to hold back the tide. However, while change occurs in the Vatican at a glacial rate, change is what Catholics heard when the pope spoke about condoms. Rearguard actions by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are unlikely to put the genie back in the bottle or the condoms back in the packet.”