Sometimes it is only fair that institutions that get criticised for the bad that they do should also get some credit when they get things right. When that institution is the Catholic Church I'm afraid that credit will come with some qualifications but credit it will be nevertheless.
The first thing that the Catholic Church has done right follows a statement from the Pope that condom use is permitted for Catholics “in exceptional circumstances” by which he means to protect against HIV transmission. Coming from the man who denied that condoms were a solution for aids this is a welcome U-turn.
As you might expect this was not an unqualified endorsement and there was some amusing confusion over exactly what the Pope was endorsing given that initially he appeared to be referring to male prostitutes exclusively, which on the face of it seems to also endorse gay sex as that is by far their primary market. Subsequent clarifications from the Vatican seem to suggest that condom use is now acceptable (if not preferable) in all circumstances where HIV transmission is a possibility.
The second thing is that the Pontifical Academy of Science (why does that seem like an oxymoron to me?) has come to the rational conclusion that GM technology is a valid contributor to alleviating food poverty in the third world.
GE technology, used appropriately and responsibly, can in many circumstances make
essential contributions to agricultural productivity by crop improvement, includingenhancing crop yields and nutritional quality, and increasing resistance to pests, as well asimproving tolerance to drought and other forms of environmental stress. Theseimprovements are needed around the world to help improve the sustainability andproductivity of agriculture.
The Vatican itself has stepped back a little from this position but signs of a rational and progressive view from such a dogma bound Church should be encouraged.
Why this matters is that like it or not the Catholic Church has a significant influence on the opinions of millions of followers. Insofar as the Pope can change false and damaging beliefs amongst his faithful, whenever his Church makes the right call it does no harm to tell it so.