Hope from the Pope
Pope Benedict has asked senior theologians and scientists to prepare a document discussing the use of condoms as a means of preventing the transmission of HIV, a Vatican official has revealed.
The study comes only days after a contender in last year's papal elections, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, challenged the Roman Catholic church's official position by suggesting that condom use was the "lesser evil" in combating Aids.
It is unclear whether the proposed document will pave the way for a fundamental shift in church policy. The Vatican currently opposes the use of condoms as part of its teaching against contraception, and advocates sexual abstinence as the best way to fight the spread of the Aids virus.
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, who is in charge of the Vatican's
healthcare ministry, disclosed plans to publish the document in an interview published in La Repubblica newspaper yesterday.
"Soon, the Vatican will issue a document about the use of condoms by persons who have grave diseases, starting with Aids," said Cardinal Barragán "My department is carefully studying it, along with scientists and theologians."
Don't hold your breath -- this could just be a trial balloon. But simply consulting scientists on contraception is a major step forward for an institution that took 300 years to admit it Galileo was right about the whole sun-earth thing (and that was more out of loyalty to Aristotle's cosmological musings, not the word of God on the sanctity of sex). If by some chance B-16 is seriously considering reversing course on one of the RC Church's biggest moral failings, who knows what else is in the pipeline?
Not, it would seem, similar progress on the homophobia front. According to today's New York Times:
About 50 prominent religious leaders, including seven Roman Catholic cardinals and about a half-dozen archbishops, have signed a petition in support of a constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage.Oh, well. One affront to reason and decency at a time.