Yesterday, excerpts of a book-length interview that Pope Benedict granted to a German journalist were printed, and one of the observations was that the Pontiff said that condoms could be used in some cases, such as for male prostitutes to reduce the risk of HIV infection. As AIDS activists cheer the Pope's stance, the Vatican claims this is not a change in papal outlook. And some Catholic New Yorkers wonders why he has to remain so selective.

Pope Benedict emphasized the church's anti-contraception stance, but, "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." But, according to the AP, "The Rev. Federico Lombardi says in a statement Sunday that the pope is neither 'reforming or changing' the Church's teaching." Female prostitutes were apparently not mentioned because condoms would represent contraception, but the Reuters' Faithworld blog suggests that the gender issue doesn't seem clear from the interview.. Still, many Catholics across the world hope this is the start of a dialogue on the topic.

NY1 spoke to some people outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the reaction was mixed. One said, "I think the pope made a comment for all mankind. I thinks it's something that he needed to make, it's for the safety, the factor of the general health, and we're not going to stop by just praying. We've got to be practical about it and take care of it that way. So I do agree with what the pope stated." However another said, "My problem with the whole deal with it is he's again being very selective. If you understand the HIV issue in Africa, the majority of people are in relationships with wives and husbands, so to target only prostitutes, he's missing the boat, which is what he does regularly."