November 23rd, 2010
07:56 AM ET

Pope makes frank comments in new book

Pope Benedict XVI discusses some of the biggest issues facing the Catholic church in a book of interviews being released Tuesday - a book that has already caused controversy over his remarks on condoms.

The pope says in the book that condoms may be justified in certain exceptional circumstances to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, even though the Roman Catholic Church firmly opposes condoms and other artificial contraception.

"There could be single cases that can be justified, for instance when a prostitute uses a condom, and this can be a first step towards a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, to develop again the awareness of the fact that not all is allowed and that one cannot do everything one wants," Benedict says in the book, "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times."

"However, this is not the true and proper way to defeat the infection of HIV," he added, saying the "humanization of sexuality" was the best method.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Catholic Church • Christianity • Europe • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. paul d

    I think there's a beauty in this commotion.

    It seems that, in its own, strange way, the Media desperately hungers for the approval of the Pope. The Holy Father has an inherent fatherly authority, just as any priest does. Even as anti-Catholics attack the Pope for his reiteration of Church teaching, they look to him to validate their beliefs and behavior.

    No one seems to ask the Ayatollah Khamenei or the Greek Orthodox Patriarch (who both teach against contraception) for possible statements that could be misconstrued as supporting contraception. No one turns to Reverend Al Sharpton or the Anglican Church for validation of contraception. They instinctively know there's no inherent authority in these sources.

    Yet, in all this (incorrect) reporting, there's a palpable sense of relief that "finally, the Pope has come around to our way of thinking! Phew!"

    I see a real light in the transparent and intentional misinterpretation of the Pope's statements on condoms. The world still sees the Holy Father as their Spiritual Father. I love my Holy Father!!

    November 25, 2010 at 8:54 am |
    • CatholicMom

      paul d,

      I loved what you wrote…it is exactly how I feel about these comment pages. God bless you for stating it just right!

      November 25, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  2. Flip Side of the Coin

    *POSITION correction above


    November 25, 2010 at 8:35 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Flip Side of the Coin,

      Thanksgiving Blessings to you, too! We have much to be thankful for!

      In no way did I want to debate your point however when I read statements placed by Catholics or non-Catholics I always assume that someone may accept a statement as absolute Truth and so I debate with myself whether it is a point that needs to be discussed further or just let it be.

      Thank you for your comments…it is always heart-warming to read the love that others have in their hearts for the Holy Father. He has an awesome position but when I remember Jesus Christ’s promises to His Apostles that He would send the Paraclete to bring them into all remembrances of what He told them and also bring them into further Truth in the future and that evil will not prevail against His Church…I can dismiss the harshness that sometimes is found on these ‘belief blogs’ and hope and pray that all will eventually come to know the Truth as it is.

      November 25, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  3. Flip Side of the Coin

    I am actually saying that whether its a possibily or he actually does it, I wouldn't blame him. I would not want to be in his psotion, seems he can't do anything right in thr eyes of some. That was my main point.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  4. Flip Side of the Coin

    Hi CatholicMom! Happy Thanksgiving!
    LOL, funny how we seem to click under these threads without trying! I have debated with you under another name, pleasant at best.:)

    I got it from here:
    Mayby I mis understood the article, but it did say it was a possiblity, and thats why I commented.

    November 25, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  5. Flip Side of the Coin

    David Johnson, I could get reslly angry with your comments directed at Jesus, but I won't. It is obvoius that you do not understand Jesus, nor know anything about him. You seem to be without the Holy Spirit? God had every right to wipe out the creation that he created, who are you to question that? He started over, and came down in the form of a man Jesus, his son. His spirit was the Father. The Holy Spirit is imparted to them that wish to be saved through Jesus sacrifice on the cross, and follow the commandments and walk in his ways.
    The problem with population, is PEOPLE, and thier total lack of responsibilty. People who are not in a marriage situation, where they have s-e-x to produce children, but, when everyone starts doing this because it feels good, (forget the cond-oms, thier not always foolproof anyway) you are gonna have a population problem. It stems from the fact that people are not doing what was told to us, but going thier own ways. Hence, children are born.
    Why is that Jesus fault? Also, how it is that the church is the bad guys, when most people doing this aren't living by the laws of any church anyway? Is it the Popes fault? Seems no matter what he says or does, he is wrong in the eyes of some.
    No wonder he may resign, I don't blame him.

    November 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Flip Side of the Coin,

      You said, ‘No wonder he may resign, I don't blame him.’,

      Where did you hear/read that the Pope may resign? His book mentions that such a thing could happen if the Pope could not fulfill his obligations as Pope. This has not happen for approx. 600 years. I think he just mentioned that it is a possibility because it can happen….not that he expects it to happen with himself. He is just trying to educate us in all things and this book appears to be an great tool.

      November 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  6. tom

    Overpopulation is the biggest cause of human suffering and environmental destruction worldwide. In fact every other major problem around the globe is either caused or exaggerated by the global population problem. So if the catholic church was really serious about relieving human suffering they would promote family planning an help people have smaller families. The best thing anyone can do for the future of the children they do have is have fewer children. If everyone had smaller families (two on average) everyone would be better off. Pope Benedict, too little, way to late, all thinking people should leave the church NOW.

    November 23, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • David Johnson


      Yep. Believers want Jesus to solve the population problem. Maybe He will send a plague or something to "thin the herd". That's why I love the baby Jesus.LOL

      November 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  7. brad

    Malcolm Muggeridge explained ARTIFICIAL birth control in these terms: in the days of Rome, when a feast was given, people would gorge themselves for pleasure. Then they would go into a vomitorium, evacuate their stomachs, go back to gorging. This act separated eating from its purpose – nourishment. Likewise the s*ex act. The primary purpose of the s*ex act is procreation through a loving relationship. ARTIFICIAL bir*h control reduces the act to bodily pleasure only, separating it from its genuine purpose, procreation. ARTIFICIAL birth control creates a s*exual vomitorium.
    To my mind, if a person engages in s*exual activity for pleasure only, without *openness* to procreation, they have already separated the act from its purpose. Might as well use a condom. BTW, I'm the father of four children.

    November 23, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • josephine

      i hadnt heard it explained like that before, thanks

      November 23, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • civilioutside

      I used to think that vomitoriums were gross. But thank you! By linking them to the wonders of se-x, you have made them beautiful! 😛

      Oh, wait, you had the opposite intention, didn't you?

      Fact of the matter is that my wife and I always use birth control methods, except for the two occasions where we were actually attempting (successfully) to have children. And even though we have no desire for more kids, we still have se-x pretty regularly. Because not only does it feel good, but we always feel closer and our relationship is always better when we are doing so. The fact is that se-x is complex, serves more purposes than the merely procreative, and attempts such as this to reduce and distort it into simplistic molds are nothing but damaging.

      November 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  8. Reality

    From the topic:

    "He (B16) uses a lot of language – very direct, very stark lan-guage that I think will surprise people on co-ntraception, on ho-mose-xuality, on issues where the church, if you like, and politically correct society are very far apart," said Austin Ivereigh of Catholic Voices, a group of Catholics that speak about church policy. "But is this an unprecedented event that we have an interview like this? The answer is yes."

    Unfortunately, Benedict apparently failed to address the flaws and falacies in the history and theology of Catholicism/Christianity.

    To correct this "oversight":

    The Apostles' Creed updated in 2010:

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary.

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension story was promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    November 23, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  9. Reality


    Using Guttmacher Inst-itute data on birth control method failure rates, one is able to calculate the number of unplanned pregnancies resulting from the current use of male condoms. It is an horrific number of 1.2 million/yr. Even perfect use of would result in 138,000 unplanned pregnancies.

    (And what is the abortion rate in the USA? ~1,000,000/yr CDC data.)

    And B16 expects male condoms to prevent contracting AIDs?

    Conclusion: currently, a perfect barrier system does not exist. Time to develop one. In the meantime, mono-masturbation or mutual masturbation for heterose-xuals are highly recommended for those at risk. Abstinence is the another best-solution but obviously the se-x drive typically vitiates this option although being biological would it not be able to develop a drug to temporarily eliminate said drive?

    November 23, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  10. Reality

    Once-a-day WARNING

    The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

    • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

    Sum Dude has a more complete list which is updated often.

    November 23, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  11. David Johnson

    From the article:
    "There could be single cases that can be justified, for instance when a prost_itute uses a condom, and this can be a first step towards a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, to develop again the awareness of the fact that not all is allowed and that one cannot do everything one wants," Benedict says in the book, "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times."

    Could this not also be said about any $exual encounter? An assumption of responsibility to not create an unwanted life as well as spread a STD of any kind?

    This has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with saving lives.

    November 23, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • Frogist

      @David Johnson: That was my thought too. Preventing pregnancy through condom use is assuming responsibility and being aware that one cannot do everything one wants. Recognizing that the need for se_x must be separated from the act of procreation is the absolute "humanization of se-xuality". It shows that as humans, se-xuality is an integral part of ourselves that holds more purpose and meaning.
      Unfortunately others are spinning this into nothingness. I read an article yesterday from the Catholic World Report website. And they've tried to turn the condom use thing on it's head saying he meant that condom use indicates that gays can turn away from being gay because *shock* gays who use condoms are capable of a sense of morality. Like gays are less than human because being gay doesn't gel with their concept of morality. He was not really talking about when to use condoms because apparently he used the "condom story" as a metaphor.
      I notice the article didn't mention him talking about women in the priesthood... But then again I'm pretty sure I know what he thinks about that.

      November 23, 2010 at 9:31 am |
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