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Pope orders
condom study

Pope orders
condom study

Vatican study will examine the impact of condom use in preventing HIV infections

In a move that may signal an upcoming shift away from the Vatican's steadfast opposition to condom use, Pope Benedict XVI has asked senior theologians and scientists to study the use of condoms to help prevent HIV infections in certain populations, according to The Guardian of London. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan says the Vatican will issue a document about condom use once the study is completed. He had no comment on whether the report will definitely be used to change the church's position against condom use.

The Catholic Church currently bans any use of condoms, including to prevent HIV infections. It considers condoms an artificial form of birth control, which is prohibited by the church. It instead teaches that abstinence before marriage and monogamy after marriage are the best ways to fight the spread of HIV.

Barragan's announcement comes on the heels of comments by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who was under consideration for the papacy last year, that in some cases condom use is a "lesser evil." He cited as an example of possible condom use the case of an HIV-negative woman who is unable to refuse having sex with her HIV-positive husband. (The Advocate)

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