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Will the Pope's condom comments change the Catholic Church?

17:56 UK time, Saturday, 20 November 2010

Pope Benedict XVI is reported to have said the use of condoms is acceptable "in certain cases". What is your reaction to this statement?

In a book due to be published on Tuesday, he said they could reduce the risk of infection with HIV, such as for a prostitute.

Until now, the Vatican had banned the use of any form of contraception - other than abstinence - even to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

This has led to the Vatican being criticised for its position in the context of the Aids crisis.

What impact will these comments have? Should the Church move away from its hardline stance on contraception? Are you Catholic? If so, what do you make of these comments?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 4.

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  • Comment number 5.

    It is also worth noting that the example given by the Pope – of a homosexual male prostitute – is one where the condom will obviously not in fact have any contraceptive purpose.

  • Comment number 6.

    Does anyone find it a little off (to put it lightly) that many practising followers of particular denominations of faith must follow the word of one man (as fallible as the rest of us, I might add), and it is only "morally acceptable" to do something with that particular persons say so?

    As a religious person myself, am I compelled to follow the word of God or the word of whoever is currently in charge?

  • Comment number 7.

    Does he not wonder why Catholics in the UK don't have dozens of children? Surely he must realise that people on the whole don't take any notice!

  • Comment number 8.

    No I dont think this will not mark some shift in chain of thought in regards to contraception by the Catholic Church. All this seems to do, again is stigmatise people who happen to use contraception as somehow being morally corrupt. Contraception can also preserve life in that it can help stop the spread of awful diseases in HIV and Aids.

    I find it highly ironic that an institution that always shouts about pro-life when it comes to abortion at the same time is willing to let people die simply because it does not beleive in contraception as a means of helping to stop spread HIV and Aids. Surely thats a massive contridiction in terms of thinking?

  • Comment number 9.

    The Pope is some what on the horns of a delema - does he do the secularists work for them, by wiping out a large sector of the most virulent church with their openly anti-secularist agenda - or does he protect Roman Catholics from the dangers of Hiv/AIDS? Either way he is in a loose/loose situation! The sooner that his followers realised that the Pope would rather see them die than disobey one of his cruel rules, the better. They don't deserve to have their lives put at risk for the sake of a dangerous dogma.

  • Comment number 10.

    7. At 6:39pm on 20 Nov 2010, Jim Stone wrote:

    Does he not wonder why Catholics in the UK don't have dozens of children? Surely he must realise that people on the whole don't take any notice!

    ________________________________________________________

    Whilst in the majority of cases this is true, there is still an alarming number of practising Catholic's who hang on the Popes every word.

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  • Comment number 15.

    "At 6:48pm on 20 Nov 2010, haarp wrote:

    Look into your own heart and mind and you'll find the answers there as to whether something is right or wrong."

    I'm sure Hitler looked into his own mind to find answers... There must be one objective truth otherwise anything goes. I'm with the Pope on this one.

  • Comment number 16.

    11. At 6:48pm on 20 Nov 2010, haarp wrote:

    Does anyone find it a little off (to put it lightly) that many practising followers of particular denominations of faith must follow the word of one man (as fallible as the rest of us, I might add), and it is only "morally acceptable" to do something with that particular persons say so?

    As a religious person myself, am I compelled to follow the word of God or the word of whoever is currently in charge?

    _________________________________

    Anyone who blindly follows the word of ANYONE else (whether it be an old fart in a fancy frock and a silly hat or God him/her/itself) is a damned fool. Look into your own heart and mind and you'll find the answers there as to whether something is right or wrong. But what all religion's want are brain dead, mind controlled sheep. Make's them easier to have them do your bidding, see?

    _______________________________________________

    I can see how you would think that with there being a lot of evidence around us to back up this opinion.

    But there are a few like myself (unfortunately a minority), who use the teachings of God and spirituality as guidelines rather than plain universal facts or regimes. After all, the Hebrew scriptures/New Testament/Qu'ran are all written by man, and man like anything else is imperfect.

    You don't have to be Atheist/Agnostic to be open minded.

    But you are right, blindly following the teachings of anything on one persons say so is foolish.

  • Comment number 17.

    No!
    Let's face it the Catholic Church still has a lot to answer for in covering up a number of Priests Sexual behaviour against children...
    I really haven't seen any real stage of apologies...just cover-ups...
    There again CONDOMS are a good cover-up...

  • Comment number 18.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 19.

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  • Comment number 20.

    These comments by the Pope will not change the Catholic Church as the Pope has not changed Church's doctrine, he has merely explained it and clarified it.

    In the book, he states that (I quote your article) condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection" which is what he said back in March (again quoting from a BBC article here): 'On his way to Cameroon, the Pope said HIV/Aids was "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem".

    In his latest book, he does not contradict the Church's stance or his position. He merely clarifies that (quote) "In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality," he said. I again quote 'The Pope gives the example of the use of condoms by prostitutes as "a first step towards moralisation".

    This is not in contradiction with the position of the Catholic Church as in that instance condoms are not used for contraceptive purposes, but merely to avoid infection. Ultimately, condoms are not the answer. Abstinence and marital fidelity are the only safe tools to defeat the AIDS epidemic.

  • Comment number 21.

    18. At 7:02pm on 20 Nov 2010, Willo wrote:

    I think people are failing to realise just what a monumental announcement this is.

    The pope does not voice his own opinions, or even those of the Catholic church. If you are believer he is actually the mouthpiece of God.

    So God has changed His Mind!

    You'd think He'd have found it easier just to stop making people HIV positive in the first place but, then, He does work in mysterious ways.

    ________________________________________________________________

    Please tell me you are just being ironic???

  • Comment number 22.

    Who cares what the Pope thinks?

    Why is his opinion more important or more special than anyone elses? The BBC, the Government, the Royal Family and The Pope are clinging onto this belief that they are somehow superior to the rest of us and that we need them to tell us what to think, when in reality peole are waking up and realising that they are all just a bunch of self serving, manipulative controlling organisations. The internet has had a lot to do with that, the freedom of information and global communication has opened peoples eyes up to what really goes on behind the scenes, there is still a lot we dont know.

    This is just another example of the BBC pretending it is impartial and reporting on the Pope, the same way they report on the Royal Family. They are all really part of one big controlling organisation, and they think they can manipulate the public however they want.

    I just take heart from the fact that people are now realising how manipulative these organisations are and this movement seems to be gathering pace. Years ago you would be accused of blasphemy or treason, if you said anything negative about the Queen or Pope. Times are changing, which is a good thing.

    These organisations need to rethink their strategy, because people are not playing ball anymore. We are all equal, no one has any right to tell anyone what to do unless its based on sound reasoning, not just because they are in Government, The Royal Family or part of the Catholic Church.

    If you add the BBC to that list, you are probably talking about the most powerful, manipulative organisations in the world, they are not as seperate as they make out.

  • Comment number 23.

    That's big of him

  • Comment number 24.

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  • Comment number 25.

    The Catholic Church is in decline because of the cleric pedophiles. The Pope's declaration to use condoms in special circumstances will not halt the decline of this archaic religion. It has become irrelevant to many believers.

  • Comment number 26.

    I find it bizarre that not only has the church changed it's outdated stance on condoms but also seems to be condoning homosexuality at the same time...

    About time!!!!!!!!!!!!! Although I'm sure they'll be quick to amend their viewpoint as soon as everyone else notices....

  • Comment number 27.

    1. At 6:18pm on 20 Nov 2010, Chilled out wrote:

    I think, historically, people will say it was a very gallant effort to prevent a moral disaster”.

    =======

    Whether birth control is a moral disaster is a matter of opinions, but telling lies that kill millions of people is by no means a very gallant effort to prevent it.

  • Comment number 28.

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  • Comment number 29.

    JobyJak wrote:

    Who cares what the Pope thinks?.......unfortunately lots of gullible people in the third world,who die in their millions because of adherence to the catholic faith.

  • Comment number 30.

    "Will the Pope's condom comments change the Catholic Church"? is the sweeping HYS question.

    Finally, some common sense. Perhaps the Pope can also take a stand and dispell the mythology and disgusting superstition, in certain African nations, that raping a virgin will cure you of HIV or AIDS.

    Science and medicine was funded and also at the centre of many religions worldwide for centuries...

    When did it all fall apart and become the centre of the Catholic Church, or ALL religions, to consider themselves above the needs and health of humanity, especially women and children?

    Good people and good behaviour should never, ever, be the exclusive franchise of religious ideology. Indeed, as religious rantings; religious extremism and it's male driven ideology have grown - freedom of speech has declined and suppression of women and their female children has increased - globally.

    Furthermore, for the last 30yrs, at least, in certain countries, women have attended private clinics who have scanned their pregnancy to determine the gender of their child and offered termination if the gender was 'unacceptable' to maintain their marriage?

    So, before all the smug, outraged or religious nutters go into over-drive - just remember there is nothing new about what women, throughout history, have tolerated from the intolerant.

  • Comment number 31.

    Condoms are acceptable under any case, but I wouldn't expect the head of a demographic-obsessed junta to admit that.

    I do however welcome this first faltering step towards modernity by the Vatican. Maybe they'll be an institution befitting of the 21st century CE one day - the fact that at this rate of progress the day will be some time in the 37th century CE is neither here nor there.

  • Comment number 32.

    It seems to me that the pope is saying, if you are a male prostitute who has Aids the use of a condom to protect your partner is (as quoted on another site) "a first bit of responsibility, to redevelop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes." He then says, "But it is not the proper way to deal with the horror of HIV infection."

    And what are the headlines? "Pope says condoms sometimes permissible to stop AIDS." "Pope approves use of condoms in fight against Aids"

    Did he? Did he say that condoms are okay in this situation, or just that the use of a condom might indicate at least an understanding that one is responsible to more than one's own self when engaged in sex, even if the means chosen is, in fact, wrong and not a solution?

    Frankly, I don't know myself.

    This is exactly why the Church needs to be clear, clear, CLEAR in its teachings. Condoms are always wrong when they destroy the ability to conceive, even if they are not used primarily for that purpose. This is an oft-reiterated teaching by the Church. (And even if the pope said something contrary to this teaching in the interview, that would NOT constitute a change in the teaching, since the pope in this case would not be speaking in a capacity that could override official Church decrees like Humanae Vitae.) Trying to make some conciliatory remarks that downplay the very concrete moral realities can only backfire and contribute to the crisis of confusion that infects the Church. How much do you want to bet that many Catholics are going to read that headline and think, "Well, maybe condoms aren't such a big deal after all. This is the first loosening, and — as we've seen so often in the past — it will surely lead to a greater loosening. But there's no need to wait for that greater loosening, since it's coming anyway."

    And so the crisis deepens.

    Sure, you can blame the media for portraying the pope's words in the wrong light. But the pope's comments are a classic example of post-Vatican II obfuscation, trading clarity for palatability.

    The Church has to regain her identity instead of trying to please all the people (including nominal "Catholics" who don't follow the teachings of the Church — and we all know how many of those there are, as other comments here indicate) all the time. Benedict has often spoken of his belief that the Church will become smaller but stronger. It's time for him to accept this and stop trying to hold on to the detritus who don't really want to be Catholic anyway.

    This made me realize just how far we still are from a restoration of the Church.

  • Comment number 33.

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  • Comment number 34.

    Religious membership in general and Catholic Church membership in particular will continue to dwindle as more people get educated, especially in the Third World and the US. Europe seems to more enlightened than the rest of the world, and church attendance there continues to decline, thank goodness.

  • Comment number 35.

    Will the Pope's condom comments change the Catholic Church?

    What a nonsense. What needs to change most of all is the BBC with its childish and pathetic anti-catholic rhetorics.

    As far as the Vatican is concerned, yes they need to stop telling people, most of all in Africa, that they can't use condoms. So it is certainly more than wellcome if the pope publically says that its ok with him in case of prostitutes, for whom the condom simply is a matter of life or death. Then it is not such a big step to say that in the name of health, the church does not object to the use of condoms in general. Best would be however, if the church did not say anything about condoms at all and leave it to medics and politicians to deal with the HIV problem. They could still promote a responsible sex life as the better solution.

  • Comment number 36.

    Doesn't make any difference. People will do what we think is right.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well what the Pope has said does not contradict Catholic teaching and is a reasonable and practical statement.But as 'Chilled out' has pointed out the secular media and others are going to misinterpret it shortly.I won't wonder if some anti-catholic Christian fundamentalist says that the Pope justifies prostitution.

  • Comment number 38.

    joe kahn stop pontificating to the Church. Pope is our spiritual leader and he ought to speak out on moral and social issues.If you have problem with that we are sorry.

  • Comment number 39.

    It is clear that most Catholics, at least in the UK, ignore most of what the Pope says. Polls taken during the recent visit showed that they disagreed with Church dogma regarding women priests, homosexuality, and contraception. The stance on condom use in particular is appalling. The Church has been responsible for the spread of poverty and disease in much of the developing world. Catholic priests have even lied to people in parts of South America, and in the Philipines, where a recent programme showed a priest telling people that condoms don't work because "they have tiny holes". Absolutely disgraceful.

  • Comment number 40.

    There is a real juxtaposition of ideas here. On one hand, we live in a world that places more and more responsibility on the individual; information is much more widely accessible than ever before; we place great value on the right to be free. On the other, religious doctrine is still accepted as fair reason to insist that people toe the line - as though we are still expected to be God-fearing, subservient and unquestioning.

    The Catholic Church, as with any other monolithic and hegemonic power structures, has been shown to be absolutely corrupt and it is in fact heretical for it to dare to pass judgement on how people live their lives. Still, there are those that follow its teachings, and accept the Church despite its faults.

    We are told that Jesus' most fundamental teachings are to love God with all your heart, mind and soul and to love one another as you would be loved. Nowhere here is there room for judgement, and I believe he is also quoted as saying 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone'.

    It seems to me that the Pope is reluctantly accepting the dichotomy between the Church as it exists and the world that it exists in. Regardless of what anyone believes about contraception; about abortion; about ANY aspect of faith, it is thoroughly unethical and dehumanising to deliberately deny people the right to make their own choices by withholding information or adding spin. Why should their choices affect what you do? Moreover, why should yours affect them?

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree with Willo's comment earlier:

    This is really important because many people follow the Pope's words believing that they represent the word of God. If God has changed his mind about condoms then a whole lot of people are going to feel more able to use condoms. This will prevent a lot of unwanted babies being born and will help to reduce the relentless spread of aids.
    The population explosion of humans on earth and the AIDS epidemic are both very great threats to all our futures. If both continue the outlook is bleak for humanity and the environment. Personally I am an atheist but my parents were Christian and my Father became a Catholic later in life. We had some blazing rows about these issues. I wish he were here to hear the Pope's recent comments

  • Comment number 42.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 43.

    Nothing massiveley surprising.
    It has been some time as the pope said he is worried about the spreading of HIV.
    So he recognized there is a struggle between his moral imaginations and the risk of getting a dangerous disease, the way out can only be the exception to use condoms in "certain cases" - that is in practice complete nonsense - you have only the decision to use condoms or not, there is no "compromise for certain intentions."

    Sorry, no sense, the Catholic Church is once more completely out of reality!

  • Comment number 44.

    I wonder if this new position really stands the test of being coherent.

    For example, I suppose that a faithful Catholic couple who just want to plan their family can now use condom's with the Pope's blessing provided that one of them pays the other. No?

  • Comment number 45.

    JobyJak wrote,"Who cares what the Pope thinks?Why is his opinion more important or more special than anyone elses?...blah,blah,blah"

    Well dear his statements are important because he is our spritual leader, head of 1.13 billion Catholics and has an impact on the Church and even the world.Well if you have a doubt on that, study history.Just look at the role played by pope John Paul 2 on the downfall of Communism and the fight of Benedict 16 against extreme secularism.Read or hear from freaking atheists and anti-religious secularists to understand the threat they feel the Pope is posing on their militant ideologies.

  • Comment number 46.

    No surprise to see the anti-religious comments above. It's just like anti-religious haters (atheists for example) to dominate online discussions yet during the Papal Visit there were hundreds of thousands of supporters on the streets versus just a couple of thousand 'protestors' (figures from the Met Police).

    I am surprised that the BBC has started this discussion so eagerly without being aware of the full context of the comments.

    Mind you, that's why I look to Sky News for a more balanced perspective on these issues.

  • Comment number 47.

    Actually what Pope Benedict said was condom use may be justified in some specific cases such as when a male prostitute is trying to prevent HIV infection. We need to clarify what the female prostitute is supposed to, supply a condom to the "john", or what?
    The Pope's comments are published in a book, scheduled for release next week. It is called: "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times."
    The Catholic Church remains staunchly against artificial contraception, but I guess Pope Benedict believes that male and female prostitutes aren't messing around to make a baby anyway.
    The Pope was also kind enough to point out that condom use among prostitutes is "a first step toward moralization," (How so I wonder.) and said condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection." The evil of HIV infection? Surely the Pope doesn't mean the "evil" of babies born with HIV, or children infected with HIV, or the evil of husband and wife passing the disease to one another without intent?
    Benedict has long been known as a conservative interpreter of Church doctrine. Conservative I don't mind, but dangerously behind the times - with all the power of his position - I consider...ah, since Pope Benedict likes the world so well: "evil".
    Remember the Pope's comments about condoms in Africa?
    The Vatican was forced to issue a statement saying that the Pope's comments reflected his concern that talk of contraception prevented discussions about responsible sexual behaviour. Is there not time for both, importance to both?
    (In a wide-ranging interview, the 78-year-old pontiff also said that if a pope is in any way incapable of performing his job, then he has 'the right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign'.")

  • Comment number 48.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 49.

    I have read an article about this on France24 and BBC, nowhere
    did I see mention of the effect of HIV on women , either in
    pregnancy/rape situations.

    It is displeasing to find that yet again the issue of HIV and women
    is out of sight/out of mind, thus I would ask that the issue is covered
    by media and refer people to the the AVERT organisation who discuss
    these issues in communities.

    I do not think HIV is alone confined to what reportage I have so
    far encountered, though I am correctable on this. I expect that
    if women ever gain respect in RC, then maybe the profound effects
    of an all-male hierarchy's pronouncements either via Media or
    ex-cathedra may actually recognise that we exist.

  • Comment number 50.

    So because the Pope says no to condoms and advocates abstinacy he is responsible for the spread of aids in Africa.

    So basically they all such good catholics in Africa they follow his word to the letter and don't wear a condom but somehow not such good catholics that they ignore the rest of his advice. What a load of twaddle.

    This is nothing but anti catholic propaganda being heralded by the BBC.

    The pope is absolutely correct in saying that abstinacy is the most effective means of preventing the spread of HIV.

    Come BBC you can do better than this. This is FOX news reporting.

  • Comment number 51.

    Just a note about the confusion surrounding Papal infallibility in this discussion: the Pope is NOT infallible at all times.

    In fact the Pope only speaks infallibly in specific circumstances. When he makes a declaration on dogmatic teaching of faith or morality as being contained in divine revelation he is speaking infallibly. Essentially- if he doesn't say he is speaking from divine revelation he is not speaking infallibly.

  • Comment number 52.

    I've absolutely nothing against the individual gaining some sort of peace, happiness, or meaning, from the practice of a religion, whatever that religion may be. But the organisation of religion into an institution such as the Catholic Church is the biggest "evil" the world has ever seen, in it's 2000 year history.

    A virus is not "evil": it has no moral stance, and attacks the "good" as well as the "bad". But an organisation that has deliberately killed millions of people throughout its history most definitely is.

  • Comment number 53.

    Ban all religions now.

  • Comment number 54.

    On the radio news, the specific situation the Pope referred to was that of a male prostitute. In this case, the use of a condom might be said not to make the sexual act less according to the natural law (as understood in the technical sense in which that term is used in Catholic theology) than it already is, whereas, in heterosexual sex, the condom does precisely that, because it breaks the integral link between the unitive and the procreative dimensions of the act which, according to Catholic theology, is part of the objective order.

  • Comment number 55.

    How can a mere mortal as the Pope create a rule for catholics that "sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalisation of sexuality" where sexuality is no longer an expression of love. Therefore contraception should not be practiced except for cases like prostitutes to prevent the spread of HIV!

  • Comment number 56.

    "Pope's condom comments"

    Response to Post #01 @ 6:18pm on 20 Nov - 'Chilled out'.

    How can I put this politely while assuming your post is true to your beliefs.

    Medically speaking:

    1) any woman with a implanted uterine device, (IUD) will lose any impregnated ovum every month.

    2) any woman taking the contraceptive pill on a strict and regular basis under medical supervision will not conceive. But will be at risk of multiple sexually transmitted diseases if her male partner is infected. As will her male partner if the woman is infected with an STD.

    3) any man or woman who is sexually active via intercourse with multiple, random partners are at risk of sexually transmitted disease without the use of a condom.

    4) all men and all women who are in long term relationships are not always 'safe'.

    5) sexual health check-ups are crucial for women and men.

    6) can we all finally get over the term 'sexual health' - call it 'reproductive health' - however, there are so many free, discrete and totally confidential NHS sources available just for a basic 'reproductive health' check-up. Just do it for yourself, if not others!

  • Comment number 57.

    Wow - so many people on this blog do not understand what the Pope has said here. He has written this in a book - not a teaching of the Church, therefore it is considered as his thoughts on the matter. He has not proclaimed this as Church teaching.

  • Comment number 58.

    Extra, Extra, Read All About It! A new uttering from a guy who claims to speak for the sentient creator of the universe...Read All About It!

    Silly creatures...

  • Comment number 59.

    I have never understood the basis for the claim for Papal authority. There is no proof of the Apostolic Succession which appears to have been invented by Irenaeus, an early spin doctor-About AD 200- but even he only wrote one paragraph of supposition. So on the basis of that there is NO authority for any Papal pronouncement or even any ordination. Certainly there is no authority for this doctrine in the teachings of Jesus any more than Celibacy, which was not the practise of the early Catholic Church and early Popes were married. Why do the Organised Religions appear to have so much invented doctrine which seems to be so destructive? Is it perhaps in order to give to the heirarchy that high that goes with the knowledge that you have control over the minds of others? Why is religion not about goodness and kindness?

  • Comment number 60.

    I find it very interesting that my earlier post was passed but has now been referred for further consideration.
    I presume it was because someone disagreed with my views of the Catholic faith. How silly of me to think that this was a floor for debate.
    Someone must feel very threatened by a relatively inocuous view to have it removed.

  • Comment number 61.

    Yup, the good old STDs are back so I suppose a condom is a kind of punishment or penance. Horrible. Like trying to play the piano with boxing gloves on.

  • Comment number 62.

    Is it really important what the Pope says about condoms. The majority of catholics practice some sort of contraception anyway. If they did not the world would be over-run with unwanted kids & we have enough of them already.

  • Comment number 63.

    The pope is not God so his stand before now of no condoms was ignored by millions of catholics and they will carry on as normal regardless of what the pope says. It is they who decided if they want to be parents not the pope.

  • Comment number 64.

    Unfortunately, many people 'worship' the Pope and what he says is therefore important - he has to realise that the RC Church has added to the misery of the World, by adopting unrealistic and immoral attitudes to biological functions, for far too long. These people deem the act of creating life a 'permissible sin' but a sin nevertheless, since they think that celibacy is more righteous - they shun the very act of creation and yet claim to honour the Creator. Personally, I don't care what they say, they are just men with silly ideas, but what they say matters to many.

  • Comment number 65.

    We've been around for 2000 years.

    We do pretty much what we want anyway, the Vatican just gets to issue various regulations now and then, and like with any local council most of them get ignored.

    Everyone knows what makes a decent human being, and those are the real rules we all have to live by.

  • Comment number 66.

    pchidell at 6.55pm.

    Are you saying that everyone who does not follow the Catholic faith and prefers to live by their own conscience will be as evil as Hitler?

  • Comment number 67.

    the church is a redundant institution which has no business acting as our moral compass.

    with this u-turn can we also expect an apology from the pope for the many lives his previous dictats have blighted?

  • Comment number 68.

    The Roman Catholic Church has long been an organisation that makes compromises in order to further its aim of growing bigger and more influential. And it plays the game very well - so expect the Vatican to say that this comment doesn't actually change what it teaches about contraception, merely that it offers 'love and acceptance' to a group of 'unfortunates' - or some such comment. And then believe them if you are gullible enough!

    Rt Rev Dominic Stockford
    Chairman, Protestant Truth Society.
    Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Connexion.

  • Comment number 69.

    This reminds me when there was a controversy started in South Africa when the former president said that HIV does not cause AIDS. That lasted for a long time and many studies and debates necessitated amongst many name calling and other shenanigans.
    I am glad that the view has been changed, eventually. It however, seems to me like a desperate attempt to stay relevant with people who had for years looked up to the church to apply common sense and offer real direction much to their heavy disappointment.

  • Comment number 70.

    The Catholic Church is constantly changing, therefore of course it will change things.
    It is perceptions (cultivated by modern day media, I have to add) which do not seem to change these days.
    In these days of high speed broadband, instant messaging etc everything has to be 'NOW' - or even sooner. There is no patience exercised.

    A 2000 year old institution, cannot be expected to make such fundamental decisions, overnight, without consideration, and debate. The Church's very soul needs to be consulted - indeed, we should expect nothing less.

  • Comment number 71.

    Condoms have been used by catholics for ever . As pointed out by previous posts the days of the 10+ kids are long gone, even the pill gets used. The catholic church lost control over the minds of the majority a long time ago, though lots still go to church for personnel reasons. Many go about life using their own common sense especially when it comes to sex. In the olden days the pope through his priests gave the moral direction through his sermons but since all the sexual abuse cases all over the world by catholic priests no one looks to the priest or the pope for moral direction anymore. Condoms were seen as the slippery slope to promiscuity along with the pill. Monty Python said it the best with the Every Sperm is Sacred skit in the movie The Meaning of Life.
    John Cleese for pope.

  • Comment number 72.

    HALLELUJAH! This IS a God, and he gave this pope a brain, (albeit rarely used, until now, and then used deceptively!)
    At long last, the Roman Catholics of the world can use 'protection from HIV' as an excuse to wear condoms.
    Please, God, let this new 'rule' spread around the world like wildfire!

  • Comment number 73.

    This is a tremendous first step for one of the most influential leaders in Catholicism and other religions to finally vocalize rationality, towards sounder public health measures. Whether or not most Catholics subscribe solely to the Pope's words does not matter; he is a powerful world voice whether we like it or not. His statement opens up dialogue beyond abstinence: hopefully many people (including leaders) in developing countries, entrenched deeply in the problem of HIV/AIDS and STIs, will continue to fight for condom use.

  • Comment number 74.

  • Comment number 75.

    Does the Pope claim to be closer to this god than anyone else?

    Does this god speak to the Pope?

    Who appointed a man in a dress to speak for this god?

    Anyone got the answer? Perhaps the god himself can reply via the HYS forum.

  • Comment number 76.

    It is the Catholic church/Popes interpretation of the scriptures that blights the lives of MILLIONS of people across the globe. Un wanted pregnancies, families that cannot be fed properly, poverty, over population of the planet, it goes on and on. All because of a celibate bachelor who lives, by choice, in splendid luxury in the Vatican. Are we really suposed to believe that he has a hot line to God to be told that birth control is wrong. If that is the case then the good Lord would have given him a right rollicking over the endless cases child sex abuse. It is mind boggling in the extreme how just one man who has no family or sexual life can dictate to millions of people just how to live their lives.

  • Comment number 77.

    It is strange reading comments from apparently "enlightened" persons who have called the Pope all sorts of names. Of course, we can all call others the names we want ... not a problem. What appals me is whether these "learned" persons realize that they are making comments on third-hand information!

    It is not unknown that the BBC and other News media have in the past reported stuff some reporter did not research very well. It is also a known fact that these media tend to be sensationalist here and there (like the story yesterday on the consistory - gathering of Cardinals in Rome - with the BBC calling it "a rare" meeting).

    If one truly knows better than the Pope (himself an intellectual per excellence), such should know that they have not yet heard from the man! A true and objective critique of his statements can only be possible when we read what he said OURSELVES! The book will be released soon ... let's wait if we are that interested in it!

  • Comment number 78.

    Given the catholic doctrine is that sex should only take place between people who are married to each other one can appreciate why the pope would not wish to unequivocally condone the use of condoms, the churches solution to HIV is to abstain from sexual intercourse which is presumably the "better way" the pope is alluding to. The question he needs to answer is, if one person in a married couple is HIV positive, is it accpetable for them to use condoms to prevent the partner contacting HIV? In answering this question he would not be seen to be condoning sex outside of marriage so he could presumably answer it without qualification.

  • Comment number 79.

    John kurios conveniently omits the role catholcism played in ww11,he forgets they turned a blind eye to the eradication of the jews.

  • Comment number 80.

    BBC you're so predictable. Can't post anything 'offensive' on the 'terrorists being tried in civil courts' HYS, but Catholicism, now that's a different matter, isn't it? Say anything you want about Catholics but never muslims!

    BBC you are PATHETIC!

  • Comment number 81.

    So you can use one to prevent disease but not to prevent an unwanted child how do you know you aren't going to get both by not using one.

    Of course I forgot, all catholics are virgins right up to the day they marry aren't they !!

    I feel like this religion thing is a big joke that I haven't been let in on. People actually follow this single blokes word do they ?, or just bits of it that suit.
    Heaven help you, it cannot help me any more than Narnia.

  • Comment number 82.

    80. At 9:14pm on 20 Nov 2010, won_hung_lo wrote:

    BBC you're so predictable. Can't post anything 'offensive' on the 'terrorists being tried in civil courts' HYS, but Catholicism, now that's a different matter, isn't it? Say anything you want about Catholics but never muslims!

    BBC you are PATHETIC!

    ____________________________________________________________

    Don't know about anyone else, but I think you've said enough!

  • Comment number 83.

    53. At 8:01pm on 20 Nov 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    Ban all religions now.


    Hear hear

  • Comment number 84.

    Speaking as a Roman Catholic the church has been struggling with the issue of contraception for decades and this may be the first sign that the church's teaching on the use of condoms could be softening? It is no secret that many Catholic couples have used either the pill or condoms and had to follow their consciences and in some cases battle with feelings of guilt. This and other issues have undoubtedly led to a big drop in church attendance and vocations to the priesthood here in the U.K., but all is not lost and there is a movement of Anglicans who now wish to be reconciled with Rome which only goes to prove that "The Spirit moves in mysterious ways".

  • Comment number 85.

    HYS debate on the Pope and condoms.

    Response to post #65 @ 8:28pm on 20 Nov - 'ady'.

    A welcome ironic post.

    ALL religions, AND all represensatives of ALL religions are clearly faulty, imperfect and unreliable because they are human. Anyone who believes they are better than another human because of religion is clearly deluded.

    Don't misunderstand me. Faith in a higher being plays an important part in society. However, those humans who use 'religion' increasingly as a form of control are disappointing and abuse all humanity?

  • Comment number 86.

    If this is true it's great news but it also shows the church CAN bend it's rules when it wants to. Now how about treating women and gay people like equal citizens ?
    I have a feeling within 24 hours the Pope will deny ever saying this so I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 87.

    I do not know if the Pope has been correctly quoted in or out of context. Many people do not understand that Catholic teaching is not up for negotiation. It reminds me of a footballer arguing with a ref - except a ref can be wrong - Catholics believe that the Church's teaching comes ultimately from God so cannot be changed. The use of condoms is an evil and cannot be used as a means to achieve good so the example of a 'prostitute using codoms is okay' is akin to saying an evil can be cured by using an evil - plainly this does not make sense.

  • Comment number 88.

    " The pope says that the "sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalisation of sexuality" where sexuality is no longer an expression of love, "but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves"."
    Typical bizarre priestly language, "fixation on the condom" sounds like the sort of thing someone would need treatment in casualty for. But as far as I can work out from the article the pope is saying using that using a condom is fine to avoid becoming infected via a prostitute, but not fine for a loving married Catholic couple who want to plan their family.
    In practice, it seems a lot of Catholics ignore the Pope's guidance on contraception. I know many practicing Catholics and I notice that very few of them have more than 3 children.

  • Comment number 89.

    Like I always say - hit religions in their bank balance and they quickly change their rules. IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY !

    The Catholic Church have admitted they are losing many followers in western countries. One of the main reasons people dislike the Catholic Church is because of their unrealistic stance on condoms. They will be hoping this new ruling (if they don't retract the statement) will bring Catholics back to the church and, of course, that means more money for the Catholic Church.

    I think western people have also turned their back on the Catholics because of their terrible treatment of gays and women so we will see if the condom rule change will be enough for ex-Catholics to return to the church.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    You're not excommunicating!
    You're not excommunicating!
    You're not excommunicating anymore!
    You're not excommunicating anymore!

    It seems that the Vatican is finally catching up with the C19th. Or the C18th, at least. But it is a rearguard action against reality, and may just be part of Ratzinger's strategy of shedding the lightweights, and returning to a 'core' of believers, or extremists, as we would say.

  • Comment number 92.

    The "unchanging" Catholic Church!

    When I was a child it was a mortal sin to attend a "protestant" service - one had to have permission from one's bishop to attend one's cousin's wedding - or funeral.

    Recently I have sung in the (anglican) choir at services at which the Catholic bishop of Salford and the Anglican bishop of Manchester have been co-celebrants!

  • Comment number 93.

    Am not sure I understand the morality of the Pope's opinion on contraception. Preumably the Pope would ideally like all peoples of the Earth to be catholic and to follow his teaching on this subject. The World population is currently 6 billion. It does not take a degree in maths to realise that with modern advances in medicine and living standards (which I assume the Pope welcomes) what the Pope is advocating (if adopted) would lead within one or two generations to numbers of humans on this planet which are unthinkable (and obviously unsustainable given the terribel strain that 6 billion is already placing on its limited resources).How on earth can this be a morally acceptable position? Please could a catholic who supports this enlighten me?

  • Comment number 94.

    So is the Pope suggesting the word of God, as interpreted by the mystic preachers of the Doctrine of Sacrifice, is a lie? Or is the Pope suggesting his Church of infallibility got it wrong? Wow - I think the fish hats must be cutting off the circulation! Gosh, they will be telling us next, that the Bible is just nonsense and fairytale's, that God is just a figment of their imagination and that Jesus didn't die for me - Well, actually I already knew that cos Robbie Williams told me so ;-) and he should be made a saint cos he sings about angels all the time.

  • Comment number 95.

    Oh how we laughed out loud!

    It's dead I tell you, the Parrot is dead.

  • Comment number 96.

    Most useless figure head in the world.
    No need to know what he said.

  • Comment number 97.

    Oh my God - is the Pope condoning genocide as defined by the Catholic Church? The man is a lunatic

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    And when can we have an apology for the millions of deaths and the untold misery caused by their previous teachings?

    *tumbleweed*

 

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