Pope's comments do not change teaching on condom use

22/11/2010

Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell
Photo: Bob and Michael Armstrong.

Statement from Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, updated at 4pm on 22 November 2010

HIV –AIDS is wreaking havoc in Africa, where the Catholic Church is heavily involved in the care of those infected and their surviving family members.

In his recent interview, Pope Benedict insisted on speaking on the basic Christian and Catholic teaching on sexual activity: that such sexual activity is to be confined to the lovemaking between husband and wife. He urges abstinence from premarital and extra-marital sex and fidelity within marriage.

He also mentioned the possibility of a male prostitute using a condom against transmitting infection as a first step “in the direction of moralization”.

This is a delicate and difficult area, sometimes producing tragic consequences. I have not seen the German original of what the Pope said, but hard and exceptional cases can encourage bad law making.

Much work needs to be done to bring consistent, Catholic light into this grey and vexed area, while ensuring that the Catholic moral framework on sexuality remains intact.

I also endorse the brief statement of Bishop Anthony Fisher OP as faithfully representing Catholic thinking.



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