The Vatican on Friday deplored a resolution by Belgium's parliament condemning Pope Benedict for saying that the use of condoms could worsen the spread of AIDS.

The Vatican, in a statement, said it was inappropriate to criticize the pope and said the episode had been used "by some groups" in an attempt to "intimidate" the pontiff from expressing Church teachings.

The Vatican statement said criticism of the pope's comments, made on the plane taking him to Africa last month, were based on "an isolated extract" and taken out of context.