This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (copyright 2015--it will be out soon), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Small Step for Humans, A Giant Leap for the Vatican

Excerpts from Pope Benedict's new book, "Light of the World," have been released by the Vatican, including passages that are accepting of the potential usefulness of condoms as a way of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The pope cites the example of the use of condoms by prostitutes as "a first step toward moralization", even though condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection".
While some Roman Catholic leaders have spoken about the limited use of condoms to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS as the lesser of two evils, this is the first time the pope has mentioned the possibility in public.
Benedict made clear the comments were not intended to weaken the Church's fundamental opposition to artificial birth control, a source of grievance to many practicing Catholics.
Even though the Church is not changing its position opposing condoms as a birth control device, the use of condoms as a way to stop the spread of venereal disease was an important way in the United States by which they got into the hands of people who used them to prevent not only the spread of disease, but also an unwanted pregnancy. This was one of the ways in which the birth rate in the US dropped to below replacement during the Depression, prior to the invention of modern chemical contraceptives, and at a time when it was generally illegal to obtain contraceptives.

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