Monday, April 24, 2006

Condoms for AIDS victims?

When it comes to the secular press covering the Vatican, they are simply not to be trusted for accuracy or truthfulness. The latest case in point: AIDS victims and condoms. Reuters and other agencies are reporting on an interview of Cardinal Javier Lozano Baragan with La Repubblica. According to a report from Deutsche Presse-Agentur, found on Monsters & Critics,

"The Vatican is expected to permit the use of condoms for AIDS patients, according to an interview with a high-ranking cardinal published Sunday.

The Vatican is currently working on a document on the subject that would be published soon, Vatican 'Health Minister' Javier Lozano Baragan said in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica.

The Roman Catholic Church has up till now strictly prohibited the use of condoms even in marriage for AIDS patients and HIV-infected people.

Observers in Rome suggest that a Curial cardinal such as Baragan could only make a statement on a such a sensitive theme when it had been first agreed upon with Pope Benedict XVI.

'It is a very difficult and delicate topic,' said Baragan, considered a close confidant of the pope. 'It was Benedict who demanded an examination of this special question of the use of condoms by AIDS patients.'

However the cardinal did not provide details on the Vatican's new rules. (emphasis mine in both cases)

So the Vatican is working on a document that is supposed to allow condoms for AIDS victims, but the cardinal who said this did not provide any details on the document. In other words, it appears that at least Deutsche Presse-Agentur is setting the Vatican up. If the document allows for the use of condoms by AIDS patients, then all is well. If not, though, the people who read this "news" report will get all up in arms about the new document as happened in 1968 with Humanae vitae.

What appears to be a much more accurate report came from (of all places) Reuters.
The Vatican will soon publish a statement on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, an issue highlighted by a call from a leading cardinal to ease its ban on them, a Catholic Church official said.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, declined to reveal the contents of the document in an interview published in Sunday's la Repubblica newspaper, but said Pope Benedict had asked his department to study the issue.
If Reuters was this smart all the time, they'd be trustworthy. Unfortunately, that's not the case and one has to be suspicious whenever reading secular coverage of the Catholic Church.

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