Thursday, April 27, 2006

Is the Vatican rethinking its policy against condom use for AIDS?

Received today from a member of the CHAA in the UK – from Martin R S.


Many of you have seen news articles in the last day or twohinting that the Catholic Church may be on the verge of revising its policy of complete opposition to the use of condoms for preventing AIDS.  The latest clarification from the Vatican suggests that the initial reports may have been partially misleading.  A study is planned to examine the scientific, technical and moral implications of condom use in fighting AIDS, but as part of a much wider study, and with no assurance that it will lead to a document or a new policy.


Here are three relevant articles:

1.  The first article dated yesterday is taken from ZENIT (, an international news agency whose mission is to provide objective coverage of events, documents and issues emanating from or concerning the Catholic Church.

2.  The second Associated Press article reports the same news and provides additional context on Catholic struggles on this issue.

3.  The third article from today's Washington Post reports on an interview with South African Catholic Bishop Kevin Dowling who has become known for speaking out in favor of using condoms in fighting AIDS.  He was in Washington, DC to address a "Health Professionals Christian Leadership Summit on Global HIV/AIDS" organized by Physicians for Human Rights (  CCIH executive director Ray Martin and CCIH board member Henry Mosley participated in this conference. Bishop Dowley is a strong supporter of abstinence and fidelity, but argues that in the impoverished environment where he serves and many women engage in "survival sex," allowing condoms can be the most pro-life stance of the church.


VATICAN CITY, APRIL 25, 2006 ( The Holy See is preparing a "study" for internal dialogue, not a "document," on condoms and AIDS, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, clarifying information published recently in the media, told ZENIT that this "profound study," requested by Benedict XVI, takes into account "both the scientific and technical aspects linked to the condom, as well as the moral implications in all their amplitude."

The Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers does not have the "competency to present a document to the Church. It is the Holy Father who has the competency or whoever he entrusts" with the task, the cardinal explained…..

"In that process the discussion arose over the action of condoms in cases of married couples with AIDS," Cardinal Lozano Barragán said. "This discussion took place in John Paul II's last months of life, but John Paul II was very, very conscious of these problems. I know it through personal experience, because I had access to him in this respect."