London, Nov 21 (ANI): Breaking with years of Roman Catholic teaching, the Pope has said the use of condoms can be justified 'in certain cases'.
In a book, Benedict XVI has signalled that the contraceptive could be an acceptable means to stop the spread of AIDS.
But he made clear the comments were not intended to weaken the Church's fundamental opposition to artificial birth control.
Extracts from the book, 'Light of the world: The Pope, The Church, The Sign Of The Times,' were published in the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, and were interpreted as a significant change in the Church's teaching.
German journalist Peter Seewald has written the book.
In it the Pope cites the use of condoms by prostitutes as "a first step towards moralisation" even though condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection".
After the Pope first mentions that the use of condoms could be justified in limited cases, such as by prostitutes, Seewald asked in the book: "Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?" reports the Daily Mail.
Benedict replied: "She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."
The Pope goes as far as mentioning the 'ABC principle' (Abstinence-Be faithful-Condom) on stopping the spread of AIDS.
However, he goes on to say the "sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalisation of sexuality" where sexuality is no longer an expression of love "but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves".
The Vatican's opposition to artificial birth control has been highly contested, even by many Catholics, since it was formalised in the late Pope Paul's Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) in 1968. (ANI)