The Vatican may be about to relax one of its most controversial policies.
It is to publish a document on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV.
The Vatican’s health department and scientists have been asked by the Pope to study the issue.
The Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms in all circumstances but there are rumours it could now make exceptions.
They were fuelled by the former Archbishop of Milan who called for reform in an interview in the Italian weekly “l’Espresso.“Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said in cases where one married partner had AIDS,condoms were the lesser evil.
But Fabrizio Marrazzo of the Italian Gay Association said he did not think the Vatican is about to have a change of heart:
“We would expect a sign of maturity from Pope Ratzinger at least on the issue of condoms but even with all the conditions the Church would add, it is hard to imagine,” he said.
Pope Ratzinger has distinguished himself for being among the most conservative of popes.
Up until now, the Catholic Church has argued that using condoms to fight AIDS will foster an immoral lifestlye and ultimately contribute to its spread.
It has argued that chastity, abstinence and fidelity in marriage are the answer.