AP reports that the Pope has expanded his remarks on the use of condoms to include any protection from HIV/AIDS, including married heterosexuals even though that would act as birth control also:
Using a condom is a lesser evil than transmitting HIV to a sexual partner — even if that means a woman averting a possible pregnancy, the Vatican said Tuesday, signaling a seismic shift in papal teaching as it further explained Pope Benedict XVI's comments.
The Vatican has long been criticized for its patent opposition to condom use, particularly in Africa where AIDS is rampant. But the latest interpretation of Benedict's comments about condoms and HIV essentially means the Roman Catholic Church is acknowledging that its long-held, anti-birth control stance against condoms doesn't justify putting someone's life at risk.
"This is a game-changer," said the Rev. Jim Martin, a Jesuit editor and writer.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters Tuesday that he asked the pope whether he intended his comments to only apply to male prostitutes. Benedict replied that it really didn't matter, that the important thing was the person in question took into consideration the life of the other, Lombardi said.
"I personally asked the pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine," Lombardi said. "He told me no. The problem is this ... It's the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship."
"This is if you're a man, a woman, or a transsexual. We're at the same point. The point is it's a first step of taking responsibility, of avoiding passing a grave risk onto another," Lombardi said.