We can count on the Catholic Church’s fey-footed leader for some pretty predictable rhetoric, but in a stunning about-face, Pope Benedict XVI is coming around on condom usage. But only for homosexuals paid by the hour.

Writing in his new book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, to be released Tuesday, the pope maintains his opposition to condoms as a contraceptive, but approves of them if gay hookers slip ’em on to prevent the spread of HIV. Saying his position is “a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way of living sexuality,” the pope calls male prostitutes using rubbers reasonable “in the intention of reducing the risk of infection.” That’s a whee bit of a different position he seems to have had last year, when he said condoms could not have a positive impact on Africa’s AIDS epidemic, and in fact “increases the problem.”

The larger revelation here, however, is that the pope thinks about male hookers. And what they do with their cocks. Yes, Pope Benedict XVI has had the mental image, at least once, of a dude slipping a condom over his member. Sultry! He also appears to have gotten over the moral dilemma of prostitution — a profession alive and well even in Jesus’ day — in favor of fighting AIDS; after all, he could’ve just said that condoms are bad no matter what, and AIDS is the punishment gay hookers deserve. But he didn’t, so cherish this moment!

FWIW, the pope (nee Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) also writes in his book that if a pope cannot longer physically, psychologically or spiritually meet the qualifications of leading the Catholic Church, he has has the “right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.” Just in case you wanted to start chronicling any bizarre tick’s you seen in this man.

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