Pope Benedict XVI suggested that condoms can be justified when used to prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS, the first time the Vatican has made an exception in their strict policy condemning condom use, the New York Times reported.
The pope, 83, made the statement in an interview with German journalist Peter Seewald, part of a series to combat criticism of his tumultuous papacy. The interview will be published in question and answer format in a book to be released Tuesday, the BBC reported.
"The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on Aids," the pope said in an excerpt from the interview. "At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim."
The book has given the pope his own voice and acknowledges the challenges the pope has faced the past five years in his papacy. He has had to deal with several crises including the sexual abuse of minors by priests and overall problems with communications, the New York Times reported.