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13 January 2004
BRUSSELS - Belgium's leading Catholic clergyman has declared that he is not opposed to the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS, in a declaration which was likely to anger Pope John Paul II.
During an interview on Dutch television, Cardinal Godfried Daneels, who is Primate of the Catholic Church in Belgium, said he believed wearing a condom was acceptable in certain circumstances.
"When an HIV positive man says to his partner, 'I want to have sexual relations', then he should wear a condom," the Cardinal said.
The Cardinal qualified his comments by saying that ideally such sexual relations should not take place and that HIV positive people should try to remain celibate.
"But if relations do take place," he insisted "a person must respect the commandment that condemns murder in preference to the one that forbids adultery," he added.
The Cardinal argued that using a condom to prevent illness or death could not be judged morally in the same way as using one as a method of birth control.
His comments are likely to bring him into direct confrontation with the Roman Catholic hierarchy however.
Pope John Paul II has made it clear on numerous occasions that he is opposed to contraception in any circumstances, a stance that has earned him widespread criticism among those campaigning against the spread of AIDS.
But the current Pope is seriously ill and some analysts say Daneels' comments may suggest that more progressive Catholics are already starting to consider what direction the Church will take when a new pontiff is appointed.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Belgian news
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