Did the Pope “justify” condom use in some circumstances? No. And there was absolutely no change in Church teaching either. Not only because an interview by the Pope does not constitute Church teaching, but because nothing that he said differs from previous Church teaching.
Hat Tip to Fr. Z (here)
Amid all the excitement about the Pope’s “game-changer” regarding condoms, I thought I might do my humble best to clarify the situation. The toleration of “lesser evil” in 4) is an old principle and rather uncontroversial in Catholic moral theology. The sea-change represented by 1) would be hard to read into the Pope’s statements on condoms–especially in light of his protestations that condoms are not a “real” solution. If the Pope meant to change the principles governing 2) and 3), such that the Church and her confessors could not only tolerate lesser evils but could even abet and counsel them, this would indeed be news. I haven’t seen any indication in the Pope’s carefully phrased remarks, however, that he so intended.