Commenting on the Pope’s liberalisation of the Vatican’s opposition to condom use to prevent the spread of HIV, human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who helped coordinate the Protest the Pope campaign during the Pontiff’s state visit to Britain this year, said:
“The Pope’s concession that condoms may be morally justified to prevent the spread of HIV is a significant modification of the Vatican’s traditional, hardline stance against all condom use.
“He seems to be admitting, for the first time, that using condoms can be morally responsible if they help save lives.
“Until now, Benedict XVI has always insisted that the church’s opposition to condom use was a fundamental, non-negotiable moral absolute that could never be changed.
“This new policy is a volte-face.
“It appears to be a response to the widespread criticism of the previous Papal policy, including criticisms from many Catholic clergy and lay people. Most ordinary Catholics have long rejected the Pope’s dogmatic, unyielding rejection of condoms. They realise that using condoms can help protect people against HIV.
“Benedict seems to realise that his unrelenting, blanket opposition to condoms has damaged his own authority and that of the church.
“If the Pope can change his stance on condoms, why can’t he also modify the Vatican’s harsh, intolerant opposition to women’s rights, gay equality, fertility treatment and embryonic stem cell research?
“This new stance shows that the Vatican now realises that it’s earlier policy was untenable and unsustainable,” said Mr Tatchell.