Vatican debates condoning condoms
March 23 2004 12:00 AM ET
Vatican officials are debating whether to condone the use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission, but they are "far from resolution," and there is no official Vatican policy on the issue, according to several top church leaders and theologians.
Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels, who is a leading candidate to succeed Pope John Paul II, in January said that in certain circumstances condoms should be used to prevent the spread of HIV. Although Danneels said he prefers abstinence as a means of HIV prevention, he added that if an HIV-positive person had sex without a condom, they would be guilty of a contravention of the commandment "Thou shalt not kill."
However, Danneels's statement clashed with statements made last year by Colombian cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo. Trujillo, who is president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, said in an episode of BBC1's Panorama program, titled "Sex and the Holy City," which aired on October 12, "The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom. These margins of uncertainty...should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger."
Mexican cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan recently said that condom use should be condoned in situations of forced sexual contact, adding that people can defend themselves by any means.