Catholic archbishop says condoms can help fight AIDS

The Archbishop of Glasgow has joined the debate over the use of condoms in the battle against AIDS, saying that it is "common sense" to allow its use in certain situations if it could help prevent the spread of the virus.

Scottish TV reports that Archbishop Mario Conti, while not advocating contraception, says it makes sense to permit the use of condoms in a marriage where one of the spouses has AIDS. His comments come as the Vatican reviews its position on the issue.

Ronnie Convery, the spokesperson for the Archibishop, said: "The church has a clear teaching on the issue of contraception and certainly using a condom as a means of contraception is wrong, what we are discussing here this is something different. The condom is merely being used a barrier to infection and that's a new issue, something that has come up in the last few years."

Roy Kilpatrick from HIV Scotland said: "Mario Conti has taken a bold step although consistent with what others are saying within the Catholic Church, I think it shows a position of responsibility towards people living within their pastoral care, people with HIV.

"We know of course that condoms do work and the Church has disputed this so the shift in terms of openness in terms of permission is very welcome."

Meanwhile, Catholic News Agency reports that Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, told Colombia's Radio Cadena Nacional that the Church "will not budge one inch" on the issue of condom use to prevent AIDS transmission.

The Cardinal told the radio station that the Vatican "maintains unmodified the teaching on condoms" and said the recent statements by Italian Cardinal Maria Martini "are nothing more than his own personal opinions which do not reflect [Church] teaching."

Cardinal Lopez Trujillo said Pope Benedict XVI has not ordered any studies about modifying the prohibition on condom use. "As a dicastery we do not have any instruction or any indication to the contrary, to carry out a study about something new with regards to condoms," he stated.

The Colombian prelate said Cardinal Martini "should explain how the condom prevents AIDS if it is true he said it is a lesser evil."

The Church believes the only way to truly combat AIDS, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo said, is through fidelity and chastity, which are the only morally acceptable means. Contraception, the Church teaches, damages the integrity of the full gift of self, which is intrinsic to the sexual act.

Catholic archbishop says condoms can help fight Aids (Scottish TV 5/5/06)
Church 'will not budge one inch' on issue of condom use, says Cardinal Lopez Trujillo (Catholic News Agency 4/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Glasgow
Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care

Jesuit says Vatican condom concession would be nothing new (CathNews 4/5/06)
Vatican set to OK condoms for disease prevention (CathNews 26/4/06)
Cardinal backs limited condom use (CathNews 24/4/06)
PNG bishops argue condoms OK for some (CathNews 30/3/06)
PNG Bishop objects to condom call (CathNews 15/3/06)
Martini says Church should be more democratic (CathNews 8/4/06)

Will the Pope Condone Condoms? (ABC America 4/5/06)
Scottish archbishop joins condoms-AIDS debate (Catholic World News 4/5/06)

5 May 2006