The pope made the comments in an interview with a German
journalist published as a book entitled "Light of the World: The Pope, the
Church and the Signs of the Times," which is being released Tuesday. The
Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano ran excerpts on Saturday.
Church teaching has long opposed condoms because they are a form of
artificial contraception, although the Vatican has never released an
explicit policy about condoms and HIV. The Vatican has been harshly
criticized for its position.
Benedict said that condoms are not a moral solution to stopping AIDS. But he
said in some cases, such as for male prostitutes, their use could represent
a first step in assuming moral responsibility "in the intention of reducing
the risk of infection."
Benedict made the comment in response to a general question about Africa,
where heterosexual HIV spread is rampant.