The Roman Catholic Church moves in mysterious ways and always very very slowly, so it should be no surprise that it has taken so long for a Pope to proclaim that perhaps there are times when the use of a condom can be justified.
For the Church of Rome it is a major step forward and for Africa and the rest of the Third World a pipeline in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Did this current Pope, Benedict XVI, have a prick of conscience that so many millions of his flock are infected, dying or already dead because they stupidly followed the Church's teaching on contraception? Never mind the unwanted babies brought into the world because Rome declared a johnny no-go.
Many are attracted to Rome because of the rigid stance it takes on issues of life and death and in a world of uncertainty that is a powerful comfort for many of its' congregation. But there are others who cling to it despite some of its' teachings which they find inhuman and lacking in christian compassion.
Pope Benedict also elected several new Cardinals in recent days, the majority from Europe. Is this to counter-balance the growth of the ultra-conservative right-wing African arm of the Church, which preaches hated and intolerance against those who fail to share its' narrow views?
Could this Pope, the rothweiler of legend, really be the one capable of moving the Church towards a more tolerant era in its' history?