Independent Online Edition > Europe:
"The Catholic Church is on the brink of a historic change of approach over condoms which could bring hope to millions in Africa and other parts of the developing world devastated by Aids.
'We are conducting a very profound scientific, technical and moral study,' said the head of the Vatican Council for Health Pastoral Care. The church is expected to give a guarded, provisional blessing to the use of condoms by married couples when one of them suffers from Aids, as a way of protecting the health of the other partner. It is only a technical concession, based on two ancient principles, but, against the background of the stolid refusal by church authorities to countenance even the slightest deviation for more than a generation, it amounts to a revolution.
At a time when more than 40 million people are infected with HIV, and there are 13,000 new cases every day, the Vatican has been accused of contributing to the spread of the epidemic by forbidding the use of prophylactics.
According to sources close to the Vatican, a document setting out the new position has already been approved by the health pastoral care office. It awaits review by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally the approval of Pope Benedict XVI.
Nothing will be certain until the Pope has signed it. But the fact that the change has got this far, with carefully placed and worded endorsements by half a dozen influential cardinals, is seen as an indication the change is almost certain."