One of the most egregious Catholic policies of late (aside from boy buggering) has been the refusal to allow the use of condoms in sexual relations. Indeed, all birth control is proscribed, but condoms have collateral benefits, such as restricting the spread of disease. Of course, aside from the procreational aspect in a world where over-population is a significant problem, you also have the fact that Catholics in countries where AIDS runs rampant have to make a choice between obeying the teachings of their church, or dying. And many choose death because that childhood Catholic indoctrination is so hard to shake.
Well, that may be changing. The Pope has come out today and approved the use of condoms provided they are being used to prevent the spread of AIDS. In other words, they are still a no-no if you want to simply prevent a pregnancy. This is notable because as late as last year, this same expert on human relations was claiming that condoms would actually make the AIDS problem worse. So now he’s come to his senses and figured out what even the dumbest non-Catholic knows:
He will stress that abstinence is the best policy in fighting the disease, but accept that in some circumstances it is better for a condom to be used if it protects human life.
It’s nice that the Catholic Church is stepping out of the 12th century, and into the 19th, but this is the 21st after all. Population control could do far more to alleviate suffering in the world, especially in third world countries where poverty is endemic and resources are scarce, but the Church is still adamantly against that, unless it occurs through self-imposed abstinence, an unrealistic expectation where sex is often the only form of reliable recreation the poor may have.
Call me a cynic, but I think this latest 180° turnabout is motivated more by the recognition of the potential loss of membership in the church, than any real concern for improving the quality of their lives.
Of course, it’s possible, too, that all he wants to do is protect his priests from contracting STDs from little boys and girls.