One-time papacy candidate urges church to ease opposition to prophylactics
VATICAN CITY - A senior cardinal who was considered for the papacy last year said in comments published Friday that the Roman Catholic Church should soften its ban on condoms because of the scourge of AIDS.
"We must do everything to fight AIDS," said Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the retired archbishop of Milan, in Italy's L'Espresso newsweekly. "Certainly, the use of condoms can constitute in certain situations a lesser evil."
While there is no specific, authoritative Vatican policy on using condoms to protect against AIDS, the Vatican opposes condoms because they are a form of what the church calls artificial contraception. Pope Benedict XVI repeated the Vatican's position last June, when he told African bishops abstinence was the only "fail-safe" way to prevent the spread of HIV.