So it's still on the front page. This time, we get a second clarification from Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi. (Here's the first, which is really quite clear.) The Pope's example of a male prostitute was not meant to be the only possible scenario he envisions. What he said applies just the same to a woman.
It's still not an endorsement of condoms ("not a real or moral solution" to the AIDS crisis in Africa); it's not a change in the Church's teaching on contraception. Nor is it (as some disenchanted Catholics are saying) a sell-out. In defending the Church's stand (that condom use "is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection"), the Pope acknowledged that an HIV-infected person could be showing the first glimmers of genuine human concern by attempting to reduce the risk of passing on that infection to someone else. That concern is something to be encouraged, whatever form it takes at first.
Peter Seewald, the German journalist who asked the question in the first place is now bemoaning what has happened since Saturday when the ineptly-managed Vatican newspaper broke a press embargo on the interview book: "Our book speaks to the survival of [our] planet that is threatened; the Pope appeals to humanity -- our world is in the process of collapse, and half the journalists are only interested in the issue of condoms." The real question the Pope is raising, Seewald says, is "Does sexuality have something to do with love?" To focus so exclusively on condoms is "ridiculous." (Read more here.)
The Chicago Tribune Seeker blog has featured my guest post about the matter (it's a revised version of what I posted here the other day). Please add your comments there.
Here's an article from the Tablet with more perspectives.