Press review pope Benedict XVI: condom statements

Article published on Nov. 23, 2010
Article published on Nov. 23, 2010
In an interview, pope Benedict XVI accepted the use of condoms in individual cases to prevent infection with HIV. Critics have welcomed this concession but doubt that it signals a fundamental change of direction for the catholic church

'First step towards a more humane sexuality' - Le Monde, France

According to the liberal left daily newspaper, Pope Benedict XVI has taken an important step towards reality with his conditional permission of condoms: 'Will the pope one day allow condom use without limitations? There is still a long way to go but Benedict's first step in this direction couldn't remain unnoticed. It's a cautious step but it is a step: the head of the catholic church no longer denies that condom use is a way of fighting AIDs. The Pope however is not encouraging the use of condoms, nor does he concede that it has the advantages which AIDs specialists emphasise. He has merely claimed in evasive words that 'in this or that case [...] there can be [...] a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.' This announcement did not come too early. For as long as the Vatican clung to its mistakes, it further weakened its own influence in the world'

'Meet people where they are' - The Independent, Great Britain

The Pope's vague concession concerning the ban on condoms gives hope to christians and aids workers, claims the liberal daily newspaper: 'The pope's throwing of a chink of light on this issue, while still remaining consistent with church teaching, will come as a relief to many catholics in the west, troubled by what they saw as their church's intransigence. It will also give hope to catholic aid workers, particularly in Africa, where they play a substantial role nursing Aids victims and caring for orphaned children. While the church has always advocated chastity as the best way of stopping the spread of HIV, and that will remain its ideal, pragmatic aid workers know you have to start where people are – and some of those people will ignore encouragement to abstain from risky sex. That is where condoms can play their part.'

'Benedict's condom statement lacks vision' - Der Standard, Austria

Pope Benedict's remarks about condom use by no means signal a U-turn, according to the liberal left daily newspaper: 'If the pope had really wished, as head of the church, to play a socially and politically important role, he would have seriously addressed the issue of birth control. That would also have been a wise move from a political (power) point of view: he would have brought the catholic church into play as an authority acting independently of politics and without its own material interests. Benedict's announcement about condoms however is neither as substantial as this would have been nor carried by that kind of vision. According to those from within the church, it should mainly be seen as an 'act of charity and goodness'. This strengthens the impression the Pope made during the child abuse scandal: that of someone looking down at earthly sinners, in the best case mildly, from the height of his position. If he feels like it, he offers a pinch of forgiveness, sometimes even for male prostitutes. There is no sign of a U-turn'

'Church's recommendations for challenges of our time' - El País, Spain

The Pope's remarks on the use of condoms will not lead to a new sexual morality for the catholic church, writes the liberal left daily newspaper El país: “The Vatican's immediate reaction [...] to prevent the Pope's words from being interpreted freely appears to confirm that the church is standing by its sexual anacronism and will therefore continue to refuse artificial contraception. For the heirarchy of the catholic chruch to stop turning its back on the current problems of society and acting aganst common sense, Pope Benedict's words about condom use shouldn't just be spoken in private, but should rather become the church's official recommendations concerning the challenges of our times.”'

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