This is interesting:
Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about condom use being a lesser evil than transmitting HIV also apply to women, the Vatican said Tuesday, a significant shift for a pope who just last year said condoms only worsen the AIDS problem.
Benedict said in a book released Tuesday that condom use by people such as male prostitutes was a lesser evil since it indicated they were taking a step toward a more moral and responsible sexuality by aiming to protect their partner from a deadly infection.
His comments implied that he was referring primarily to homosexual sex, when condoms aren’t being used as a form of contraception, which the Vatican opposes.
Questions arose immediately, however, about the pope’s intent because the Italian translation of the book used the feminine for prostitute, whereas the original German used the masculine.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters Tuesday that he asked the pope whether he intended his comments to only apply to male prostitutes. Benedict replied that it really didn’t matter, that the important thing was the person in question took into consideration the life of the other, Lombardi said.
“I personally asked the pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine,” Lombardi said. “He told me no. The problem is this … It’s the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship,” he added. “This is if you’re a woman, a man, or a transsexual. We’re at the same point, which is the first step in responsibly avoiding passing on a grave risk to the other,” Lombardi said.
The pope is not justifying or condoning gay sex or heterosexual sex outside of a marriage.
Elsewhere in the book he reaffirms the Vatican opposition to homosexual acts and artificial contraception and reaffirms the inviolability of marriage between man and woman.