When Pope Benedict made those somewhat confusing remarks saying that condoms could be used by male prostitutes to stop the spread of HIV, people thought, "Hey, what about the female sex workers?" Now it turns out that Pope Benedict thinks that the use of condoms by both men and women to prevent AIDS is a-okay! The Vatican spokesman said, "I personally asked the Pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine. He told me no... It's the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship. ... This is if you're a woman, a man, or a transsexual."
The NY Times reports, "The clarification did not represent a change in church teaching on birth control, which remains forbidden, but it appeared to be a significant first response to critics who have long seen the church’s ban on condoms as a moral failing in light of the AIDS crisis." The Pope's original remarks are excerpted from a book-length interview with German journalist Peter Seewald.
While in Africa last year, Pope Benedict said the Vatican was against condom use—suggesting that they could further the spread of AIDS. Oxfam's HIV Officer in Congo, Eugide Bashombana, said, "The Pope's 2009 declaration created an uproar and confused believers and we found a certain resistance to accept condoms -- it was very difficult. These [recent] comments are positive in the sense that they correct the message he gave last year. Now we need to really spread the word right into the villages."