The Catholic Church, which has opposed the use of condoms for contraceptive or safe-sex purposes, is now considering endorsing their use by married couples in which one partner has HIV/AIDS. Pope Benedict XVI, who was a strict enforcer of church doctrine under Pope John-Paul II, has requested a report on the issue, surprising many Catholics and safe-sex advocates. Rev. Jon Fuller, a Jesuit physician, told the New York Times that “In some ways, maybe he has got the greatest capacity to do it because there is no doubt about his orthodoxy.”
Considering limited endorsement of condoms may also bring the Vatican more in line with its own clergy. The Telegraph reports that two-thirds of priests in the United Kingdom considered it “morally defensible to use condoms in order to curb the spread of HIV.” HIV/AIDS has proven a hurdle for the Catholic Church, as the Church expands in Africa and encounters the issue of marriages affected by the disease, where abstinence and fidelity do not offer sufficient protection.