By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tPope Benedict XVI has signaled that in some limited cases, where the intent is to prevent the transmission of disease rather than to prevent pregnancy, the use of condoms might be morally justified.
tWhile that position is hardly new, in the sense that a large number of Catholic theologians and even a special Vatican commission requested by Benedict XVI have endorsed it, this is the first time the pope himself has publicly espoused such a view.
tThe comments do not yet rise to the level of official church teaching, but they do suggest that Benedict might be open to such a development.
The comments from Benedict come in a book-length interview with German journalist Peter Seewald titled Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times, published in English by Ignatius Press.
Excerpts from the Seewald interview were published today by L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper.