Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, issued a statement Nov. 21 in response to wide international coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's comments on condoms in a new book-length interview with the German journalist Peter Seewald.
In essence, Benedict reiterated the church's broad opposition to artificial birth control, but said that in some exceptional cases, where the intent is to prevent disease rather than pregnancy, the use of a condom could be a "first step" towards a greater sense of moral responsibility.
In his statement, Lombardi insists that Benedict has not changed church teaching on condoms, but rather given papal expression to a position long held by moral theologians and other "ecclesial personalities," including a number of cardinals.
The full text of Lombardi's statement follows, in an NCR translation from Italian.
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Note of Fr. Lombardi on the words of the pope on the question of condoms