In his new book, Pope Benedict XVI says male prostitutes using condoms “is the lesser evil than passing HIV onto a partner,” and thus excused-ish. But wait, what’s this? Anybody — not just male sex workers — can use condoms without committing the ultimate sin?

The Catholic Church hates contraception almost as much as it hates abortion, so brace yourselves. Amidst the world’s shock over Ratzinger giving the okay for men who have sex with men to wear a rubber, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi now says the pope has opened up condom usage to all. But only because it’s not as bad as spreading HIV. And the policy is universal: “This is if you’re a woman, a man, or a transsexual,” says Lombardi. “We’re at the same point.”

The confusion began because in the pope’s tome Light of the World, “the Italian translation of the book used the feminine for prostitute, whereas the original German used the masculine,” reports the AP. So Lombardi asked the pope “if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine. He told me no. The problem is this … It’s the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship.”

Just don’t get too excited: Light of the World of course includes the requisite section about how gay sex is a violation of God’s teaching, and contraception is evil, and marriage is just for one man and one woman, and how the Vatican will be released new flavored wafers just in time for Christmas mass. (Okay, I’m lying about the last one.)

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