BY HANA KAJIMURA
Pope Benedict XVI, the spokesman for one of the world’s largest religions, has changed the Catholic stance on condom use, namely in condoms as a potential solution to the AIDS pandemic.
While the Church still adamantly opposes the use of birth control, Pope Benedict XVI pronounced that condom use can be an effective and appropriate way to combat AIDS. The Pope believes that condom use is a step towards “moralization”, and signifies that the user is “taking into consideration the risk of the life of the person with whom you are having a relationship,” according to the Vatican’s spokesman, Father Lombardi. The Pope extended his remarks to women, men and transsexuals.
Any congratulatory remarks lie not in the specificity of his remarks but for merely bringing the issue to the table, as he is the first Pope to do so. For the courage to break away from the governing body of the Church, and for all the pushback he has and will face, I commend him. He effectively changed, in the course of days, what the Catholic Church has held true and sacred for centuries.
The Pope himself is a symbol of a larger change, the shift from the dissolution belief that AIDS is distant to the realization that it is present and pressing. Just last year on a trip through Africa, Pope Benedict claimed that the spread of AIDS could only be prevented by abstinence and responsibility. Since that approach hasn’t worked, he has taken a different one. We all must see that what we’ve tried in the past has only had marginal effects. Ignorance and intolerance have dug us into an even deeper hole.
I realize we don’t all have the power of the Pope and that not all of us can sway public opinion or gain the attention of world media, but as I’ve written before, we all have a voice. We must take matters into our own hands and convey the message directly that we can no longer “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” No matter how provocative or unorthodox, safe sex and condom use is essential to slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS.