Hey, great news, male prostitutes with HIV/AIDS! The Pope has given you his blessing to use condoms! In the upcoming book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, Pope Benedict XVI concedes that in very rare cases, condom use could be considered justified to help stop the spread of AIDS. The example he specifically uses is for that of male prostitutes, for whom condom use “can be a first in the direction of moralization a first assumption of responsibility.” When the media was quick to jump all over this statement as a reversal of the Catholics Church’s long-standing policy banning contraceptives, the Church was quick to clarify that the Pope’s statement was no such thing. Because, I mean, let’s face it, the Catholic Church certainly doesn’t believe male prostitutes (with AIDS!) are getting into heaven anyway.If the Church really wants to “soften” its stance on condom use with the express purpose of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, then, for the love of God, be thorough about it. While more than 80 percent of HIV infections are caused through sexual transmission, only 4 percent to 10 percent result from sex between men. So while “male prostitutes” have been given the A-OK to wrap their junk, what about straight men? What about women in general? Only a year ago, the Pope actually said that condom use “makes matters worse” when it comes to the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. As far as I’m concerned — and this isn’t a slam against individuals who hold Catholic beliefs — the Roman Catholic Church absolutely holds a significant amount of blame for the spread of the disease in Africa, where the Church maintains a significant presence and has spread their anti-contraception nonsense since the AIDS epidemic began.
Let’s get real — this “new” position on condom use by the Pope is just a tiny bit less s**ty than the one touted only a year ago, and still indicates that the Church is completely blind to the reality of HIV/AIDS. There’s a hell of a long way to go before I’ll be cheering. [NY Times]