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In a huge move, Pope Benedict XVI has stated that condoms are acceptable under one circumstance: male prostitutes. He gave no other circumstance in his interviews.
The Pope had created a stir previously, stating that condoms did not help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases; rather they might actually help to spread them. The Catholic Church would not offer any reason (medical/scientific) for their statements, but added that abstinence and remaining faithful to one’s partner were the only ways to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. His comments caused uproar because he made them during a tour of several African countries where the rate of HIV/AIDS is a high as 25 percent or more.
His newest comments (made to a German reporter) included his idea that “there may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.”
A male prostitute was the only example the Pope would cite (male prostitutes make up a minority percentage of prostitutes in general) when explaining a situation where a condom may be used and did not mention women who make up the majority of prostitutes as possibly receiving the same kind of Vatican support for the use of condoms while working their trade.
The 83-year-old Pope still believes that condoms cannot be used as birth control, even in poverty stricken countries, nor did he say he approved the use for any reason. However, by merely mentioning their possible use by a male prostitute (as bizarre at that may be considering the death rate of new mothers and their babies in war torn and famine ridden countries) he has opened the door, however slightly, to the conversation having some potential for continuation.
Catholic clergy in Africa have called on the Pope on numerous occasions to support the use of condoms for married couples when one is HIV/AIDS-positive but the Pope has refused to give his consent. So far, the Catholic Church has not approved any form of birth control expect natural family planning that does not prevent the spread of infections or diseases.