for one thing, that's for sure: no matter who disagrees with them, they're wrong.
Catholic teaching has never totally barred condom use for protection against HIV and the Vatican has no official, authoritative policy on the issue.
In 1987, the U.S. bishops' conference issued the statement, "The Many Face of AIDS," that stressed limiting sex to marriage as the best protection against the virus, but said public education "could include accurate information about prophylactic devices" to prevent transmission. The document was criticized at the time by conservatives and some Vatican officials.
Years ago, Vatican officials reportedly began studying the topic, with the goal of writing a document on the morality of condom use as protection against AIDS, but no statement was issued. . . .
"I maintain that nothing new has happened, that the church's teaching hasn't changed," said the Rev. Joseph Fessio of Ignatius Press, the English publisher of the book, in a phone interview from Rome.
Yet, the pope's remarks are still seen as significant and must be analyzed and explained by church leaders. U.S. bishops oversee AIDS care programs through local and national Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services. In a brief statement, Catholic Relief Services said, "Our current policy holds: we do not purchase, distribute or promote the use of condoms."
It's nice to be able to rely on something.