VATICAN CITY: "Pope Orders Condoms Study in AIDS Fight" The Guardian (London) (04.24.06):: Barbara McMahon
Pope Benedict has asked senior theologians and scientists to prepare a document that examines the use of condoms as a means of preventing HIV transmission, according to the head of the Vatican's health care ministry. "Soon, the Vatican will issue a document about the use of condoms by persons who have grave diseases, starting with AIDS," Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said in an interview published yesterday in La Repubblica newspaper. The Vatican currently opposes the use of condoms as part of its teachings against contraception, arguing that abstaining from sex is the only safe way to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. But the issue has divided the church's top officials. In the interview, Barragan called it a "very difficult and delicate subject which warrants prudence."Barragan's announcement comes just days after Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a contender in last year's papal elections, suggested that condom use is the "lesser evil" in the fight against AIDS. Barragan declined to anticipate any outcome of the study, and it is not clear whether the report will lead to a fundamental shift in church policy.
Looks like Cardinal Martini stirred something up. Or maybe great minds think alike. Whatever. The possibility of a positive statement by the Vatican is a hopeful sign. Now, if we could just get the President to endorse condoms for disease prevention, we might get somewhere.