The Vatican has revised the Pope’s ignorant comments on condoms and their usefulness against HIV/AIDS:
On Tuesday he told reporters accompanying him on his trip to Africa that Aids was a “tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems”. Taken aback by outrage worldwide, the Holy See altered the Pope’s remark yesterday to read that condoms merely “risked” aggravating the problem.
The Vatican website published an edited text of the Pope’s comments the day after a question-and-answer sesion on his flight to Cameroon. It was a question from a French reporter that elicited an unqualified response about condoms.
By introducing the word “risks” the Vatican softened the message. The website at first also altered the Italian word the Pope used for condoms, from “preservativi” to “profilattici”.
It is not clear whether “preservatives” — the usual Italian term for condoms — was deemed too colloquial, or whether “prophylactics” was considered not simply more polite but more general, since it could be taken to encompass other forms of “safeguard against disease”. Subsequently the word was changed back to preservativi.
All Vatican press conferences are conducted in Italian, which the German-born Pope speaks fluently and which Vatican-accredited reporters are also expected to speak. Reporters who recorded the interview on the flight said the recordings showed that the Pope had used the word “preservativi” and not “profilattici”.
In addition he had not said that reliance on condoms “risked” aggravating the problem, as the amended version had it, but rather that it “even aggravated it” or, as some media translated the word, “increased” it.