A reader writes:

You write that "the Pope found some room for a spectrum of morality in the actions of an HIV-positive prostitute," in acknowledging the relative morality of a male prostitute using a condom, while also observing the many contradictions inherent in the Pope's statement, such as the idea that it may be moral for a gay prostitute to wear a condom, but not the HIV-positive husband of a straight couple.

My (formerly Catholic but still Christian) wife has a more cynical, but certainly plausible, view of the Pope's statement: perhaps the Pope is simply worried about protecting the priesthood from HIV-positive gay prostitutes. 

His Holiness is not stupid.  He certainly realizes that the Catholic Church has an enormous number of gay priests, notwithstanding recent efforts to discourage gay men from becoming or continuing as priests.  Surely the Pope also knows that many gay priests break their vows of celibacy and some even frequent gay prostitutes - there is plenty of evidence of this happening within the walls of the Vatican itself.  So the Pope's acknowledgment of the relative morality of condom use by a male prostitute may simply stem from a desire to keep his priests from getting infected, along with the attendant embarassment of having to explain how one or more of his priests became HIV-positive.

I realize how utterly cynical it is to view the Pope's statement in this fashion. But, alas, it is hard to approach anything this Pope says, particularly in matters concerning sexuality, and especially after the latest round of pedophilia scandals this year, without a high degree of cynicism.

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