The Pope is 30 Years Late on Condoms, But Just in Time

Published on November 25, 2010   ·   No Comments

The Vatican’s belated blessing on condoms and prostitution is finally a smidgen of progress

By: Devona Walker

Were prostitutes just waiting for the Pope’s blessing to start using condoms? Somehow I doubt it.

As reported
by the LA Times:

In a seemingly offhand remark that caught the Roman Catholic world by surprise, Pope Benedict XVI appears to have relaxed, at least slightly, the Vatican’s longstanding adamant opposition to the use of condoms.

In a book-length interview with a German journalist, portions of which were released Saturday, the pontiff said that under some circumstances it might be acceptable for a prostitute — or, in some translations, a male prostitute — to use a condom.

Then on the following day Pope Benedict XVI said condom use among female prostitutes was alright too. Do you think it was a Freudian slip that he immediately thought about male prostitutes? OK I digress. The point here is, well, does the Vatican honestly believe it’s governing the actions of prostitutes? Does the Pope expect some huge expression of relief to rise up from red light districts from Detroit to Budapest? Is this more of a back-handed way of acknowledging prostitution and perhaps accepting homosexuality? Or is the Pope simply in the initial throes of dementia?

In any event, it’s way too little and way too late to either repair its very damaged image among gay and bisexuals or curbing the transmission of HIV. And even now, the Vatican continues to miss the point — HIV/AIDS is not simply a risk to prostitutes, it’s a risk to millions of people every day. It’s huge risk in many of those African countries the Catholic church was quick to help colonize and convert to Catholicism — like Haiti, Sierre Leone or Zimbabwe (a country where roughly 15 percent of the population is HIV positive).

It’s a risk to poor women without access to health care. It’s a risk to poor people living in countries where condoms — largely due to the Catholic Church and other dysfunctional religions — are not widely available. It’s a risk to women in the United States.

A year ago, Pope Benedict XVI claimed that condoms could be making the AIDS crisis worse. But now, he says using condoms is the first step in taking “moral responsibility” in the intention of reducing infection?

The Catholic church says condoms are still a no-no for the rest of us, not even if you happen to be married to someone who is HIV positive. I am not religious, but I am having a particularly difficult time following the logic here. Prostitutes get a free pass, I assume it’s because for them the purpose of intercourse is not to procreate but to make money? Then wouldn’t this exception logically apply to, let’s say, gold diggers? And if it’s just accepting the notion that not all intercourse is about procreation then shouldn’t it be extended to all gays and not simply the ones having sex for money?

At present, HIV has affected more than 60 million people worldwide and led to 25 million AIDS-related deaths over three decades.

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