The Vatican said Pope Benedict will not be intimidated into silence after receiving harsh criticism about his controversial remarks against the use of condoms.
Belgium's ambassador to the Holy See has lodged a formal protest at the Vatican about the pope's condoms stance. The Belgium parliament passed a resolution calling the pope's remarks unacceptable.
The Vatican said it deplored "the fact that a parliamentary assembly should have thought it appropriate to criticize the Holy Father."
France and Germany have also called Benedict's comments irresponsible and dangerous.
During a trip to Africa last month, the pope told reporters the distribution of condoms would only increase the problem of AIDS in Africa. He said a responsible, moral attitude toward sex could fight the disease.
The respected British medical journal The Lancet said the pope distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine when he made the comments.
The article said the latex condom is the single most effective way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and AIDS.
The Vatican said the pontiff's remarks were in line with Roman Catholic Church doctrine, which opposes the use of contraceptives.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.