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VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI, who has in the past blamed condoms for making the AIDS crisis worse, has said male prostitutes who use condoms may be beginning to act responsibly. The statement was welcomed as pathbreaking by gay and AIDS activists across the world, especially Africa, while the Vatican hastened to caution that there was nothing revolutionary in the remark, that the pope had only spoken for exceptional situations.
The pope made the comments in an interview with a German journalist, published as a book entitled Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, which is being released on Tuesday. The Vatican newspaper LOsservatore Romano ran excerpts on Saturday.
Church teaching has long opposed condoms because they are a form of artificial contraception, although the Vatican has never released an explicit policy about condoms and HIV. Benedict, in his interview, said condoms were not a moral solution to stopping AIDS, but, "There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility."
He, however, made it clear that the church did not consider condom usage as a "real or moral solution, but in this or that case, there can be nonetheless in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality".
He used as a specific example male prostitutes, for whom contraception is not usually an issue, but did not mention married couples where one spouse is infected.
Read more: Pope OK with condoms as exception - The Times of India