March 22, 2004
No Official Vatican Policy
Despite the publicly stated views of the cardinals and the Roman Catholic Church's official opposition to artificial contraception, the Vatican has not issued an encyclical -- its most authoritative type of teaching -- about condom use and HIV prevention, the AP/Courant reports. The Vatican in 1968 issued an encyclical in which Pope Paul VI stated the "inseparable link between the unifying and reproductive dimensions of sexual intercourse for husband and wife," but that teaching and others have specifically addressed condom use as contraception and not condom use as a means to protect oneself or others from a potentially deadly virus, the AP/Courant reports. Some bishops' conferences worldwide have suggested exceptions to the Vatican's opposition to the use of condoms. The South African Catholic Bishops' Conference in 2001 condemned HIV prevention programs that encouraged condom use but condoned condom use among married couples in which one partner was HIV-positive if the couples abstained from sex during ovulation, thus reducing the likelihood that the condom was preventing the "creation of life," the AP/Courant reports (AP/Hartford Courant, 3/21). Because there is no official Vatican policy on the issue, the way that Catholic leaders handle the issue "comes down to nuance," Australian Bishop Anthony Fisher said, the Associated Press reports. He said that although it might "sound hypocritical or confusing," church leaders privately may counsel individuals to do things that the same leaders "can't put in a public education campaign," the Associated Press reports (Winfield, Associated Press, 3/20).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.