MEMPHIS, TN— The Pope says it's "ok" to use condoms. It's a historic shift in the position and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope talked about this in a book published two years ago but those comments are resurfacing on the internet. People told abc24 news they were shocked the Pope would say using condoms can be morally justified let alone bring up that topic at all. They say it's the sign of the times.
"I’m pretty surprised by that. I’m not Catholic myself but I have some Catholic friends and I know they're surprised too,” said a Memphian Lee Roy Johnston.
Others told abc24 news Pope Benedict XVI is going against the Catholic Church by dropping the ban on condom use.
"If he is lifting the ban then he's contradicting what he says he believes in abstinence. I mean if there is going to be abstinence there's no need for condoms,” said another Memphian Darren Morgan.
The Pope's comments came from a book called, "Light of the World" published in 2010. Now, his comments have popped up all over the internet and social media sites.
"This particular condom topic was a small section of the entire book,” said the Communications Director of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, Suzanne Aviles.
Aviles wants to set the record straight.
"The church's position is the same as it’s always been and that is that abstinence is best,” Aviles stated.
Aviles says the Pope's statement is not changing their theology on chastity or birth control.
“It is about taking a step toward a more humane treatment in the case where disease exists,” she said. “His (the Pope) particular words are condoms are not a real or moral solution but I think if I can add to that it's a practical solution."
Even here in Memphis where the number of people infected with STD’s and HIV remains high the Catholic Diocese of Memphis encourages abstinence until marriage.