Nov 23, 2010 3:06 PM by Greg Boyce
VATICAN CITY (AP) - As the Vatican expands on Pope Benedict's remarks about condoms, it's making it clear that there is, in fact, a shift in church teaching on the issue.
The Vatican now says using a condom is a lesser evil than transmitting HIV to a sexual partner - even if that means a woman who is averting a possible pregnancy. It's an acknowledgment that the church's stand against condoms as a contraceptive doesn't justify putting someone's life at risk. The shift in policy is being described as a "game-changer" by the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit editor and writer. He says the pope has "completely changed the Catholic discussion on condoms."
The Vatican has long been criticized for its opposition to condom use, particularly in Africa where AIDS is rampant. The change comes as U.N. AIDS officials announce that the number of new HIV cases has fallen significantly - thanks to condom use. In Africa, AIDS activists, clerics and ordinary Africans alike
are applauding the pope's new position.