Cardinal George Pell and Parramatta Bishop Anthony Fisher have clarified that Church teaching on condoms has not changed, reports The Australian. The Catholic News Agency cites the Vatican spokesman saying the same.
Cardinal Pell said that although the issue was "difficult and delicate" for the church, Pope Benedict had not changed his teaching.
Bishop Fisher said the pontiff used the example of a male prostitute using a condom - in an interview contained in a forthcoming book - to give due credit to someone "trying to make some moral progress".
He said the Pope had made a clear distinction between homosexual acts - where contraception was not an issue - and the use of condoms for HIV prevention more widely.
"He was very clear, as in his previous statements, that he is against condoms altogether," Bishop Fisher said.
The Catholic News Agency also reports Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, saying the Pope is not altering Catholic teaching on condom use or justifying the disordered use of sexuality.
The Pope's comments in Peter Seewald's "Light of the World: the Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times", were "not reforming or changing the teaching of the Church but he reaffirms it, putting it in the perspective of the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility", said Fr Lombardi.
In a short passage at the end of the tenth chapter of Seewald's book, the Pope discusses the "banalization of sexuality," which treats sexuality as a drug. The pontiff uses the example of a prostitute.
"In such a case, the Pope does not morally justify the disordered exercise of sexuality," the spokesman explained. Rather, the use of the condom to lessen the danger of contagion may be "a first act of responsibility" and "a first step on the path toward a more human sexuality" rather than acting to put another's life at risk.
"In this, the reasoning of the Pope certainly cannot be defined as a revolutionary turning point," Fr. Lombardi said, following worldwide media reports of a change in Church teaching on contraception.
Bishops say Pope still anti-condoms for HIV (The Australian)
Vatican spokesman: Pope not changing Church teaching on condom use (Catholic News Agency)
Cardinal Pell Statement November 22
Bishop Fisher statement on Pope and condom use
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