Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly suggested in a new book that it's acceptable to use condoms "in certain cases," particularly "to reduce the risk of infection" with HIV.
The pontiff's remarks come in a new book titled "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times," based on 20 hours of interviews conducted by German journalist Peter Seewald, according to AFP.
When asked whether the Catholic Church is "fundamentally against the use of condoms," Benedict is quoted as saying, "It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution... in certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality."
The Vatican has consistently prohibited the use of any form of contraception other than abstinence, even as a guard against sexually transmitted disease.
Its position has earned it sharp criticism, particularly concerning underdeveloped countries and regions where HIV/AIDS infection rates are alarmingly high.
Benedict sparked international outcry in March 2009 on a visit to AIDS-ravaged Africa when he told reporters the disease was a tragedy "that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."
compiled from agency reports