A growing choir of Catholics, whose church has staunchly opposed condoms, are seeing the latex light. In January, Belgian cardinal and leading papal contender Godfried Danneels (below) decreed that if an HIVer has sex, he must use a condom, lest he contradict the commandment “Thou shall not kill.” Two months earlier, South African Bishop Kevin Dowling opined that by dissing rubbers, the Catholic Church’s credibility is on the line. And then, in February, his compatriot, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, preached, “It is irresponsible to say sex education and the supply of condoms encourages promiscuity.”

Stateside, Francis Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, has faith: “A few brave bishops speaking out signals that the church’s position can and will change.” Whether this happens before ailing Pope John Paul II dies remains a mystery. Keep praying.