Has the Pope gone soft on condoms?

A FLURRY of reports at the weekend suggest that a welcome chink may have opened up in the Vatican’s armoury of opposition to condoms, but these have been quashed by the Vatican’s chief spokesman.

The Rev Federico Lombardi said in a statement yesterday that the Pope is neither “reforming or changing” the Church’s teaching, which forbids use of condoms and other contraceptives, and he cautioned that there is nothing “revolutionary” in Ratzinger saying that condom use can be an act of responsibility in exceptional situations.

He was reacting to the Vatican’s publication of excerpts of a book about the posturing old ninny. Ratzinger said in an interview in the book that in certain cases, such as for a male prostitute, condom use could be a first step toward assuming responsibility.

Lombardi stressed that the church doesn’t consider condoms the “moral solution” to the AIDS problem.

Meanwhile, according to this report, male escorts said that Ratzinger “blessing” of condom use in their line of work comes “too little, too late” — and that most prostitutes pay no mind to the pontiff’s preachings anyway.

In a book due out tomorrow, “Light of the World,” Pope Benedict XVI offers justification for condom use among male prostitutes as “a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility,” noting conception isn’t an issue between men.

Said “James,” a sensual massage therapist who advertises online in the Boston area:

The Pope is behind the times. It’s too little, too late. Condom use should go without saying. HIV and AIDS came out in the 80s. Where was [the then] the Pope with his message then? That’s when he should have said it was OK.

“Antonio,” who is listed as an escort online, added:

It’s about time. Condoms are important because of the STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) out there. He should have said yes to them a long time ago, especially to the Catholics. But it’s a message for all the population. People are having kids they can’t afford to feed. Why won’t he say something about that?

But another escort, “Markus,” believes Benedict’s statement will do some good.

He will definitely persuade people to use condoms more for whatever sexual activities they are involved in.

The New York Times regards Ratzinger’s statement as:

Something of a milestone for the church and a significant change for Benedict, who faced intense criticism last year when, en route to AIDS-plagued Africa, he said condom use did not help prevent the spread of AIDS, only abstinence and fidelity did.

Although Ratzinger, 83, took pains to explain his most controversial decisions to the book’s author, Peter Seewald, a German journalist, he did not veer from them. That included his defence of Pope Pius XII, whose tenure during World War II has been criticised by Jewish groups who say he could have done more to help Jews escape the Nazis.

Benedict also suggested several times that he was a victim of overly zealous critics, including those who criticised him for revoking the excommunication of a bishop who denied the scope of the Holocaust.

The Pope did, however, acknowledge the church’s failings during the years that children were being abused.

The deeds themselves were hushed up and kept secret for decades. That is a declaration of bankruptcy for an institution that has love written on its banner.

The book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, comes from a series of interviews conducted in July by Seewald.

Hat tip: Marcus

31 responses to “Has the Pope gone soft on condoms?”

  1. Daz says:

    I’m with “Antonio,” on this. Too little, too late.

    If I ever get arrested, remind me to say that my “deeds themselves were hushed up and kept secret for decades. That is a declaration of bankruptcy…” That, apparently, makes it all okay.

  2. Al says:

    Are there enough Catholic prostitutes to warrant the pope coming out with this?

  3. elainek123 says:

    My first thought was perhaps he has come to this decision so he will be protected if and when he goes with a male prostitute.
    The Pope when visiting Spain was confronted by gays kissing in front of the pope-mobile. He was really annoyed as they were over 16 and consulting adults. I got this from ‘Have I got news for You’.

  4. The Woggler says:

    If I were a Catholic, I’d still have a lot of questions. Does the pope make the final decision personally under what circumstances it’s alright to wear a condom, or will he delegate this? Would I have to do so in advance, and if so how long and on what basis would a decision be made? Would there maybe an online form to fill in, or could a consultation be carried out by text or by phone.

    These are important questions because I wouldn’t to get/get somebody pregnant or contract/pass on an STD when I might possibly have had the pope’s permission to wear a condom.

  5. Mike says:

    Lets look at this from another angle. If condom usage became standard for rec-sex, this would lead to the reduction of STD’s, because carriers of them would not be able to pass on their diseases. So what other benefits would result from total condom usage? Proper planned parenthood, increase health standards, reduction in religious authority, increased education.

    All these are worthwhile goals for humanity, and the cost is minimal and would only affect an unimportant part of society, namely the control religion has over people. That is a good thing I think.

  6. Broga says:


    Ratzinger is a planetary disaster, locked into a vicious, deluded and stupefying foolish “morality.” The shame is that this sick bigot is welcomed by governments, recently in the UK, under the weird impression that to do other would lose them votes. Ratzi trashes people’s lives, puts a definite break of population control in places where they do not know any better and are still controlled by his priests. Meanwhile he defends the indefensible, including paedophile priests and his fascist pre-decessor Pope Pius X11.

    The fact is that if you read up on past Popes they have been fornicating, abusing and thieving with no regard to decency never mind morality.

  7. Daz says:


    Are there enough Catholic prostitutes to warrant the pope coming out with this?

    Places like the Philippines are rife with them. I’d venture to suggest, based on opinion and guesswork alone, that anywhere you get a high proportion of true pope-worshipping Catholics and poor education, you’ll find a lot of prostitutes, as marital sex is treated as ‘propagation only’.

  8. David B says:

    On our thread on this topic at Secular Cafe I made the following post.

    ‘The more I think about it, the more I suspect that the fact that he used an example where there is no possibility of conception is extremely telling.

    I doubt that he would ever say that it is OK to use a condom for any reason when there is a possibility of a conception if the condom were not used, even if there were a high risk of the partner and/or the child being infected with HIV.’

    A spin off thread on Catholic Morality led to a link on catholic sexual morality which makes….looks for word….interesting? Shocking? reading.…ual-ethics.htm

    I copy/paste

    ‘F. All unnatural sexual acts, including oral, anal, and manual stimulation, whether partial or completed, even if used as so-called foreplay with the sexual act being completed in natural marital relations, even if used after natural marital relations to bring the woman to completion, even if preceded by, combined with, or followed by an act of natural marital relations, are nevertheless intrinsically disordered and always objectively gravely immoral.’

    What a bunch of disordered buffoons!

  9. AngieRS says:

    More than too little, too late. I wonder if it’s possible to calculate all those people who have died and will die of STDs because of this religions stand on condom use. I bet it’s getting right up there with Adolf and Pol Pot.

  10. Daz says:

    David B:

    Would a kiss first be out of place, do you think? With the lights off, of course. Wouldn’t want to get perverted about it.

  11. Broga says:

    We need to strip the mystique from Ratzi, rip off the Emperor’s expensive designer produced covering, literally and metaphorically, and look at what we see. Ratzi, devoid of the surrounding bullshit, is a small minded and insignificant man. A rather pathetic creature who lives in a fantasy world as he struggles in vain to quell his homosexuality. What he says is vicious nonsense and so farcical that were he to work in an office or factory he would be a figure of ridicule.

    He would be the “strange little man” who never gets the girl, is only invited to the pub as an afterthought, and to any party with as a kindness with the words “do we have to invite him.” He is insecure and embarrased as is shown by his compensating vanity which leads to his excessive overdressing with his gaudy silks, extravagant headgear and his need for his goodlooking constant priest companion.

    Emotionally barren, psychologically warped and living a lie which constantly threatens to overwhelm him. Like many another of his kind, inside and outside religion, he started as a fairly open man but once he discovered the power that flowed to his hard line role as Inquisitor he was seduced and has stayed there ever since. In his terms, if ever a man sold his soul to the devil then that man is Ratzi: benighted, lost, comfortless and endlessly embattled by forces he cannot defeat because they offer reason against his superstitious irrationality.

  12. sailor1031 says:

    I’m irritated that a bunch of celibate jerks would declare that oral and manual “stimulation” are “unnatural” sex acts. WTF do they know?

  13. tony e says:

    It’s all right a catholic saying ‘Well I can’t use a condom becuase Ratty said so.’ What a fucking lazy cop out. All persons having sex have a moral responsibility to their partners, either not to cause unwanted pregnacies and/or cut the spread of std’s. Ratty really should have endorsed condoms and he has dropped the ball on this one.

  14. Marcus says:

    @sailor1031 I note there was no mention of fondling alter boys being ‘unnatural’. Strange that.

  15. JohnMWhite says:

    @Marcus – according to The Case of the Pope, Canon Law in the church saw homosexuality between a priest and a consenting adult as a far graver sin than fondling or even raping altar servers (male or female) or the mentally handicapped, until very recently (I believe it was changed this year). This is how warped they are – consent means nothing, vulnerability means nothing, the most important thing to them is to be able to judge and condemn homosexuals, because of course now buggering a child is *just as bad* as consensual homosexual sex.

  16. Stuart W says:

    Perhaps the growing number of televangelists/ preachers caught using male prostitutes had some influence.

  17. Stonyground says:

    The RCC thrives upon riding people’s guilt. If it confined its restricive rules to things that actually do harm, the vast majority of well meaning Catholics would probably have nothing much to confess to and therefore no guilt to ride. The ludicrous restrictions on sex that David B has alluded to means that it would be impossible to have a normal meaningful sexual relationship without committing a number of “sins” and that is the deliberately calculated purpose of said restrictions.

  18. bardhi says:

    in the original german language version pope has used the male version of prostitute EIN ProstituiertER

    “Es mag begründete Einzelfälle geben, etwa wenn EIN ProstituiertER ein Kondom verwendet, wo dies ein erster Schritt zu einer Moralisierung sein kann, ein erstes Stück Verantwortung, um wieder ein Bewußtsein dafür zu entwickeln, dass nicht alles gestattet ist und man nicht alles tun kann, was man will.”

  19. ZombieHunter says:

    It really shouldn’t matter in this day and age what the pope or the catholic church or any other theocratic medeival minded institution has to say about condoms or anything else, unforunately these arseholes have more power and influence than they should and are able to use it to their advantage.

  20. Broga says:


    What puzzles me is why supposedly educated and apparently normal people not only take them seriously but despite their continuing outrages – e.g.the collective sexual abuse of boys in a school for deaf childfren – find reasons to ignore their behaviour and excuse it. I just don’t get it.

  21. Stonyground says:

    @Broga & ZombieHunter

    I am equally baffled, The RCC have a really impressive track record of being wrong. When they have been proved wrong with pretty much 100% certainty, they still hang on for several hundred years before finally conceding. they can’t even get the stuff that they made up straight. Yet millions of apparantly intelligent and educated people still take them seriously.

  22. tony e says:

    Broga, ZombieHunter and Stonyground,

    My theory, and this is obviously without definitive scientific proof, is that the human race still has massive ‘pack/tribal’ instincts despite our modern civilized lives. Anyone who appears to have all the answers and is in authority rises to almost alpha male level in their eyes.

    Combine this with the quite impressive brainwashing that catholic children receive from the moment they emerge from the womb (‘pope’ as we know means ‘father’ thus enhancing this need for automatic deference) these indoctrinated people will put up with any shit that is thrown at them. To think for themselves would be a terrifying concept.

  23. Too little, too late, it is true.

    But at least it’s an acknowledgement that condoms can help to prevent HIV – something which (despite the overwhelming evidence) many Roman Catholics have resolutely denied up until now.

  24. ZombieHunter says:

    @ tony e

    Humanity as a whole is definetly a tribal species, it’s evident with religion, football and even music, though it must be said I’m guilty of the latter, us metalheads are a very tribal bunch 😛

  25. tony e says:


    Music is definitely divisive. My idea of hell is being locked for eternity in a room which plays x factor/hip hop on a 24hr basis. Give me a bit of Judas Priest any day!

  26. Ivan says:

    “a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility”

    The second step being conversion “therapy” to become straight and, if that fails, the third step is celibacy.

    On a more amusing note, I see the BBC said that the Pope’s pronouncement on condoms had opened up a crack…….

  27. Broga says:



  28. David B says:

    More Catholic sources are frantically denying that the Pope’s interview means any real change.

  29. Neuseline says:

    @bardhi. ALL the German newspapers I read online quoted the Pope as saying that “Ein begründeter Einzelfall für eine Ausnahme von dieser Haltung könne aber etwa der Fall sein, dass Prostituierte ein Kondom verwenden.” The word “Prostituierte”, as you may know, means just prostitutes. It is the plural of der Prostitierte (ein Prostituierter) and die Prostituierte (eine Prostituierte). When I first heard the news on my favourite Radio 4 programme, Sunday, it was claimed that there was some confusion as to his exact meaning and that it had been translated into English from the Italian. The Pope gave his interview in German. Some well-meaning Cardinal at the Vatican probably couldn’t bring himself to cast aspersions on women who are so highly regarded by the Catholic church.
    Anyway, I am glad Jupp Ratzinger has cleared it up now.

  30. barriejohn says:

    Cartoon in this week’s Private Eye (lukewarm off the press).

    Bear sitting on lavatory in woods, reading this story, says:

    “IS the Pope Catholic?”

  31. Dear Madam, Sir,

    It is known that AIDS is not a natural disease but was fabricated in the military bio-lab. This was clearly proclaimed by the Noble Peace winner of 2004. the African lady Wangari Muta Maathai a few years ago. AIDS: It is surely an instrument of genocides, a selective one, indeed.

    Why should a Pope, a religious leader interfere in the treatment of a sexually-tranmitted disease? It is a reasonable question, indeed.
    One might be tempted to argue on the basic question of the definition of the religion then. Before the start of Martin Luther’s Christian Protestant movement in Europe, the Catholic Church had an absolute power in all matters, religion, politics, social, medical etc. Priests were the only literate people, ordinary folks were not allowed to read, not even Bible, on the pain of torture and death. After the Reformation, the Catholic Church launched the Counter-Reformation, the most virulent instrument of the Counter-Reformation was the “Society of Jesus” – generally known as the Jesuits:
    One of the tactics of the Jesuits was spreading diseases: plague spread soon after the Protestant Reformation, but only in those two cities where Protestants were stron: Geneva and Zurich, the neighbouring Catholic areas remained unaffected; well, this might give you the message.

    The Oath of the Jesuits is a formidable document which explains thier tactics, particulary in the abuses of psychology, culture, bilogy, knowledge of diseases and poisons and othee such ancient and modren sciences.
    You will find a detailed discussion on the following links:

    The first link describes “the Jesuits Society” and the second link describes the Jesuits oath and their tactics.

    After going these links you will be clear that Jesuits used Bilogical warfare as one of their tactics of destroying non-Christian as well as the Protestanat nations all over the world – that was incidently also the begining of the colonization of the world for Christianity.

    Biological warfare or speading diseases against the enemies, non-Christians and the Protestants, was one of the tactics adopted by the evil Jesuits; moreover the Jesuits are notorious for Paedophilia, Child sex abuse and homosexuality; they not only practise these evil forms of sexulaity which spread sexual diseases like AIDS, as wlll as they spread these diseases through the infected priests and nuns, through cheap sex and prostitution in the 3rd world countries.

    Jesuits have a “Black Pope” as their leader: The Black Pope is responsible fo the secretive “black and evil activites” and the ordinary Pope support them on the name of religions, telling people not to use drugs and other measures thus assuring the spread of evils and diseases as is evident in case of AIDS where the last as well as the new Pope, on the name of Christianity, told the victims not to use the condoms, thus contributing to the death and disability of millions of poor people in the 3rd world countries.

    Please read the following link:

    Yours sinceely

    Royalist Humanist