2010-11-22 15:43:41

Holy See spokesman clarifies Pope does not justify condom use

(November 22, 2010) The Holy see’s spokesman has clarified that Pope Benedict XVI is not justifying condom use, though the Pontiff said it could in some cases be a first step toward moral behaviour. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this in a statement on Sunday regarding the words of Pope Benedict as recorded in a book, "Light of the World", scheduled for release on Tuesday. On Saturday, Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano published some quotes from this book, which drew public interest and media misunderstandings. In the book, the writer, German journalist Peter Seewald, asked the Pontiff two questions on the fight against AIDS and the use of condoms. Father Lombardi noted that Pope Benedict answered by insisting "on the fact that focusing only on condoms is equivalent to trivialize sexuality, which loses its meaning as an expression of love between persons and becomes a 'drug.'" The spokesman affirmed that "fighting against the trivialization of sexuality is 'part of the great effort to help sexuality be valued positively and have a positive effect on man in his totality.'" He added, "In the light of this broad and profound vision of human sexuality and the contemporary discussion of it, the Pope reaffirms that 'naturally the Church does not consider condoms as the authentic and moral solution' to the problem of AIDS." "In this the Pope does not reform or change the Church's teaching, but reaffirms it," the priest stated. "At the same time the Pope considers an exceptional circumstance in which the exercise of sexuality represents a real threat for the life of another," the spokesman explained. When Seewald asked the Holy Father to clarify the Church's position on the use of condoms, Pope Benedict said that the Church “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." Father Lombardi explained, "In that case, the Pope does not morally justify the disordered exercise of sexuality but maintains that the use of a condom to reduce the danger of infection may be 'a first act of responsibility,'" as opposed to "not using it and exposing the other to risking his life." "In this, the reasoning of the Pope certainly cannot be defined as a revolutionary change," Fr. Lombardi added.

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