Vatican interprets Pope’s comment on condoms, says everyone can use it to prevent HIV

Interpreting Pope Benedict XVI’s statement conditionally allowing condom use, the Vatican has said everyone--not just homosexuals as first implied by the Pope--can use condoms to prevent HIV transmission. The Vatican said using the particular contraception is a lesser evil than transmitting the widespread disease, reports the AP.

Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he asked the Pope whether or not only male prostitutes--whom the Pope cited as an example earlier--are allowed to use condoms. "He told me no. The problem is this... It’s the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship," the AP quoted Lombardi as saying.

Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit editor and writer, said, "This is a game-changer. By acknowledging that condoms help prevent the spread of HIV between people in sexual relationships, the Pope has completely changed the Catholic discussion on condoms." Citing Lombardi, the AP said the Pope "wanted to give his perspective on the need for a greater humanized, responsible sexuality."

The Vatican made the announcement on November 23, the same day that United Nations AIDS officials said the use of condoms contributed to the significantly fewer number of new HIV cases.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Headstart yesterday, former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said the Pope’s comment on the conditional use of condoms is "realistic." She said, "I know many Catholics who will feel better and more at ease following their conscience because the Pope supports them now... It’s a good start, and I hope that in the near future, he’s also going to change his mind about the use of artificial means of contraception for family planning."

For more on this story, log on to Yahoo News and ABS-CBNNews.com.

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