VATICAN CITY, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI, in a book to be published by the Vatican, tells an interviewer condom use is acceptable to prevent the spread of disease.
"Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times," is to be released Tuesday, the BBC reported. Excerpts from the pope's interviews with German writer Peter Seewald have appeared in L'Osservatore Romano, the semiofficial Vatican newspaper that often serves as a vehicle for high-ranking church officials.
In the past, the church has opposed all methods of birth control except abstinence and avoiding sex at times when conception is likely. But lay Catholics have not followed the hierarchy on this issue, and many prominent Catholics, including Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, have acknowledged using birth control and have even joked about it.
In the interview, the pope said the circumstances justifying condom use are limited.
"There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be ... a first bit of responsibility, to redevelop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes," he said. "But it is not the proper way to deal with the horror of HIV infection."