May 25, 2011
Three days before the start of a Vatican conference focusing on "the centrality of care" in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, on Tuesday printed a piece by Spanish theologian Juan Jose Perez-Soba arguing that married couples with one HIV-positive partner "should abstain from sex, because intercourse performed with a condom is, 'from the moral point of view, not a fully conjugal act,'" RNS/Beliefnet News reports (Rocca, 5/24).
Perez-Soba "said that although use of a condom may have some effectiveness against HIV/AIDS contagion in single acts, it cannot guarantee safety -- especially throughout the sexual life of a couple. It is wrong, therefore, to say that condom use can prevent infection, he said," according to the Catholic News Service. CNS writes that Perez-Soba's article "said that, on a practical level, condom campaigns increase the possibility of AIDS infection by promoting a false sense of security" (Thavis, 5/24).
Last year, Pope Benedict XVI addressed condom use for HIV prevention in an interview published in November 2010 that "touched off worldwide controversy. ... The Vatican's doctrinal office later insisted that the pope's words did not mark a change in Catholic moral teaching or 'pastoral practice' against the use of condoms for AIDS prevention or contraception," according to RNS/Beliefnet News (5/24).