Coming from one of the most revered people on the planet, Pope Benedict XVI's words resound greatly with Catholics (and other Christians) around the world. When it comes to sexuality, Benedict and the popes before him have rarely offered progressive, sex-positive messages. Instead, they have urged followers to remain abstinent until marriage, and, once a heterosexual couple is married, to never use contraception, even in a world where HIV is present. However, in the recent book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times, Benedict XVI indicates some movement regarding the morality of condom use in preventing HIV transmission. Here is a look at the Vatican's mostly static stance on condoms.
October 6, 1979: 'All human life, from the moments of conception and through all subsequent stages, is sacred.'
'Pope John Paul II, at the White House during a trip to the United States
January 22, 2005: '[Pope John Paul II]'considers that it is necessary above all to combat this disease in a responsible way by increasing prevention, notably through education about respect of the sacred value of life and formation of the correct practice of sexuality, which presupposes chastity and fidelity.'
'Statement from the Vatican
January 22, 2005: 'If someone is incapable of controlling their instincts'then they should do whatever is necessary in order not to infect others.'
'Felipe Arizmendi, bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, at a news conference in Mexico City
March 17, 2009: 'You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.'
'Pope Benedict XVI, referring to the AIDS crisis in Africa
Summer 2010: 'There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.'
'Pope Benedict XVI, in response to a question posed by Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times author Peter Seewald. The book was released November 24.
November 23, 2010: 'I personally asked the pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine [in discussion of condom use]. He told me no. It's the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship.' This is if you're a woman, a man, or a transsexual.'
' Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, clarifying Pope Benedict's words in the book, portions of which were leaked to the press prior to its release