Church goers in Kenya have joined liberal Catholics in the West in welcoming the apparent softening of the Vatican’s stance on the use of condoms.
The African country is one of several facing a major battle against rates of HIV infection and persuading people to use condoms is central to that fight.
One local resident said he thought people, especially Catholic leaders, were coming to realise that times were changing and one cannot confront today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. “AIDS is real,” he said “ and the pope and the entire Catholic leadership has realised that it needs to be faced.”
Catholic teaching has long opposed the use of condoms on the grounds they are a form of artificial birth control.
Pope Benedict’s comments (quoted by the Vatican newspaper from a new book) that they may sometimes be justified to stop the spread of disease have stunned many.