Pope's Shift on Condoms a Wise Move

Conservative columnists like the pontiff's declaration
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2010 12:36 PM CST
In this photo taken Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI holds the book of the gospels during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

(Newser) – The pope's declaration that condoms are OK for prostitutes wins praise from two conservative columnists today:

  • Michael Gerson, Washington Post: It's a "welcome and necessary shift," he writes. Benedict isn't conceding "the moral ideal" of abstinence outside of marriage, but he's suggesting "that there is a moral aspect even to acts the church considers immoral." With AIDS ravaging Africa, he's giving a needed acknowledgment to human nature.

  • Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times: Essentially the pope is saying that under "certain circumstances, using a condom would be less bad than not using one." (Sex workers being his example.) "The pontiff understands that not all harms are equal," and, further, that a sex worker who puts on a condom might be taking the first step toward becoming a more moral person. "Given the core assumptions of Catholic moral thought, I think Benedict's reasoning is perfectly sound."

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