Over the weekend, Pope Benedict XVI said that, to avoid HIV infection and take some damn responsibility for their actions, gay hookers should probably use condoms. This sounded like a big shift from the time Benedict said condom use aggravates the spread of AIDS. Still, by focusing on gay hookers, the Pope wasn't condoning condom use between men and women under any circumstances. Then Benedict's flack said that Benedict hadn't said anything "revolutionary" for the Church, anyway, and the Vatican's policy on condoms was still basically the same. But times have changed since last weekend:
"Pope Benedict XVI clearly acknowledged on Tuesday that the need to prevent diseases like AIDS could outweigh the church's long opposition to the use of condoms. It was a significant and stunning personal pronouncement from the conservative pope after more than two decades of heated debate. The Vatican's spokesman said that for Benedict, the use of condoms by people infected with H.I.V. could be 'the first step of responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk to the life of the person with whom there are relations, whether it's a man or woman or a transsexual.'"
Thus, Benedict is now acknowledging the need for condom use to stop the spread of HIV, even for heterosexual couples, and the existence of transsexuals. Is he turning over a new leaf? Queerty points out that Benedict's new book Light of the World still includes "the requisite section about how gay sex is a violation of God's teaching, and that contraception is evil," and Benedict still doesn't support condom use in order to stop the spread of babies, of course. But then there's this:
"According to reports, the Pope meant to start the fiery debate on purpose when he told a German journalist that condom use may be justified in certain cases."
So modern, he's even learning how to promote his book, Light of the World, out today, by stirring up controversy. Now he just needs to strap on a condom and he'll have entered the 21st century.
After Condom Remarks, Vatican Confirms Shift [NYT]
Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican on condoms: Men and women can use condoms to prevent spread of HIV [NYDN]
Pope Benedict XVI Okays Condoms For Women + Transexuals! [Queerty]