Many Catholics have reacted positively to the Pope’s comments on the use of condoms. In a book due to be published on Tuesday, Pope Benedict, says their use is acceptable in certain cases. Referring to prostitution, the Pope said condoms could be a step towards assuming responsibility, when it comes to HIV and AIDS.
The 219-page book called Light of the World takes the form of a long interview with the Pontiff. In it, his comments break from the ban on contraception traditionally taught by the church.
Other Catholic leaders have spoken about the limited use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, but it is the first time the Pope has mentioned the possibility.
Worshippers in Italy seem to agree. One woman standing coming out of mass said: “The church has to open up because times are changing. Contraception should be accepted.” In France, church-goers also agreed. “I think a change like this is necessary,” said one man.
Last year, during a trip to Africa, the Pope was against the distribution of condoms, claiming it would actually make the spread of diseases worse.
Odon Vallet, a professor of history and religion said Pope Benedict’s comments are very influential: “It changes the way people feel, and look at those who use condoms. And this is particularly important in Africa and Asia.”
Despite still maintaining that condoms are not the answer to HIV and AIDS, this first step does show the Pope is willing to re-think the church’s rigid doctrine.