Pope's liberalises stand on condoms
Volte-face by previously hardline Pontiff
Catholic spin doctors are wrong to deny a change of Papal policy
London – 21 November 2010
Commenting on the Pope’s partial liberalisation of the Vatican’s opposition to condom use to prevent the spread of HIV, human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who helped coordinate the Protest the Pope campaign during the Pontiff’s state visit to Britain this year, said:
“The Pope’s concession that condoms may be morally justified in certain circumstances is a significant modification of the Vatican’s traditional, hardline stance against all condom use.
“He seems to be admitting, for the first time, that using condoms can be morally responsible if they help save lives.
“Until now, Benedict XVI has always suggested that the church’s opposition to condoms was a fundamental, non-negotiable moral absolute that could never be changed.
“His revised policy is a volte-face.
“Contrary to attempts by Catholic spin doctors to deny a change of Papal doctrine, this new stance is a departure from the traditional teachings of Pope Benedict and his predecessors. It contradicts Benedict XVI’s previous total opposition to condoms, which he reiterated during his visit to Africa last year.
“This looks like a reaction to widespread criticism of Papal policy, including criticisms from many Catholic clergy and lay people. Most Catholics have long rejected the Pope’s dogmatic, unyielding rejection of condoms. They know that using condoms can help protect people against HIV and save lives.
“Scientific and medical research have demonstrated that condoms, when used correctly, can stop the transmission and contraction of HIV and other sexual infections. Yet for three decades, successive Pope’s condemned condom use as a method for preventing the spread of HIV. This policy was dangerous, heartless and morally irresponsible.
“A change in Papal policy has been long overdue.
“Benedict has apparently realised that his unrelenting, blanket opposition to condoms has damaged his own authority and that of the church.
“If the Pope can change his stance on condoms, why can’t he also modify the Vatican’s harsh, intolerant opposition to women’s rights, gay equality, fertility treatment and embryonic stem cell research?“This new stance shows that the Vatican now acknowledges that it’s earlier policy was untenable and unsustainable,” said Mr Tatchell. Click here to return to the Religion Index