Condoms and the “Marital Act”.

I got home late last night to find the news sites ablaze with reports that Pope Benedict has conceded that there could be some justification for the use of condoms “in certain cases”. Most reports see this (very slight) shift as significant: the Daily Telegraph headline calls it “historic”. Others are less convinced, noting that the example he gives is very specific, that of a male (homosexual) prostitute, for whom contraception is clearly a non- starter in the first place.

Condom Permitted?

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HIV/AIDS, Bishops Kevin Dowling, and Me

One of the oddities of my personal journey as an out gay man is that, entirely by chance and without any credit on my own part, I found myself twenty five years ago organizing what I believe may have been the first ever public meeting on HIV /AIDS awareness in South Africa –  two of them! I have had a deep and personal interest in the “progress” (and anger at the lack of progress) of Aids prevention in the country ever since.  This gives me a particular interest in the story of Bishop Kevin Dowland, and his courage in speaking the truth on the topic.

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Condoms and the Vatican Suppression of Truth.

At America blog, there is an important and disturbing report on how the Vatican officials suppressed a report by its own theologians on the possible use of condoms as a preventative measure in the fight against HUV/AIDS. Written by Austen Ivereigh, formerly a press officer for the diocese of Westminster, it carries useful information on both the history of the report itself, and some insider gossip on the reasons given by certain cardinals for what happened.

The basic facts are that back in 2006, a Vatican commission undertook a study into the morality of condom use as a  measure to prevent Aids.

“The study was undertaken in 2006 by the Pontifical Council for Health Care, and submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) by the Council’s then head, the Mexican cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán. The cardinal said on that occasion that his 200-page dossier contained a spectrum of views on the question of whether it was legitimate to use condoms to protect someone from catching Aids”.

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