Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Church urged to soften stand on condom use

This is the cover of "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times" by Pope Benedict XVI. In the book, which was to be released Nov. 23, the pope said the use of condoms may be a sign of moral responsibility in some specific situat ions when the intention is to reduce the risk of AIDS. (CNS)

The Star, Phlippines

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A government official called on the local Catholic Church Monday to follow the example of Pope Benedict XIV who had softened his stand on the use of condom in the fight against the spread of HIV-AIDS.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office head Ramon Carandang told reporters Monday, "I think our own clergy should be informed by the views of the Vatican because they've always referred to the Vatican when they stated their position. Now that the Vatican's position is such, then I think that should result in a corresponding flexibility on the part of our Church. The local Church cannot be more popish than the Pope."

He added that the use of condom and other forms of contraceptives is not as controversial in other parts of the world as it is in the Philippines.

Pope's position would also boost the Department of Health's earlier project of distributing free condom to the public as part of its anti-HIV-AIDS program, as well as the bid to pass the Reproductive Health bill, he said.

The Pope during an interview for the book "The Light of the World" had said that the use of condoms maybe justified to stop the spread of HIV-AIDS. He, however, acknowledged that it is not the only way to handle the spread of the HIV infection.

He also clarified that his comments does not weaken their stand against the general use of artificial contraceptives.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said they prefer to waiting until the book is published this week but acknowledged that the Pope's comments focuses on the use of condoms as one of the tools to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS and not as the main measure.

Abortion is illegal in the Philippines, but condoms and birth control pills are available despite church objections. Philippine church officials are against contraception which is banned by the constitution.

Like four out of five Filipinos, Aquino is a Catholic. But he supports the right to contraception in the country with an aim to slow the country's annual population growth of 2 percent.

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