The Roman Catholic looks as if it will take the first baby step towards permitting the use of condoms, according to today’s Guardian and numerous other news sources.
The Vatican "health minister", cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, is understood to be urging the Pope to accept that in restricted circumstances (specifically the prevention of Aids) condoms are the “lesser of two evils”. The recommendation still has to be reviewed by the conservative Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and then by the Pope himself, before there is any change in the Church’s stance
It appears that the first-hand experience of Roman Catholic missionaries and pastors in the developing world has been the driving force behind the current rethink. In recent years, the case for condoms as a defence against Aids has been taken up publicly by several Roman Catholic leaders – including the Pope's own theologian, Cardinal Georges Cottier who has argued that the Catholic "theology of life" could be used to justify a lifting of the ban. "The virus is transmitted during a sexual act; so at the same time as [bringing] life there is also a risk of transmitting death," he said. "And that is where the commandment 'thou shalt not kill' is valid."
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which will now consider the issue, was headed by Pope Benedict for 24 years before his election. After he became Pope, he appointed as his successor an American, Cardinal William Levada who, for 10 years, was Archbishop of San Francisco - a city where Catholic charities played a leading role in supplying care to Aids sufferers.
To be honest I cannot understand why it has taken so damn long for the Vatican even to consider this tiny change in its stance on birth control. Considering every sperm to be sacred is fine and dandy but when AIDS kills millions of people a year, particularly in sub Saharan Africa, then surely a little pragmatism is in order.
contraception AIDS Catholic church