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Pope Benedict’s book of private theology was quoted by the media as saying: “In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality.”
“There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be … a first bit of responsibility, to re-develop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes…. But it is not the proper way to deal with the horror of HIV infection.”
The news media are presenting these comments as if they represent an approval of the Church for the use of contraception, or the use of condoms, in some cases. This claim is a gross misrepresentation of what the Pope said.
The Pope was merely pointing out that a particular intention, to avoid disease transmission, is a good intention. He hopes that such a good intention might lead the person to a better understanding of morality and a turning away from immoral acts. He was not approving of contraception, nor was he approving of the use of condoms by homosexuals (i.e. cases where the condoms are not contraceptive).
The Pope’s comments do not imply that the intrinsically evil act of contraception might be moral with a good intention, such as to avoid disease transmission.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).” (CCC, n. 2399).
Pope John Paul II: “Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act, intrinsically evil by virtue of its object, into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice.” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 81.)