A Roman Catholic bishop in the southern English port city of Portsmouth is backing a campaign to legalize brothels. But he added that he in no way condones them.

The Right Reverend Crispian Hollis supported the local branch of the Women’s Institute which wants to license brothels. “If you are going to take a pragmatic view and say prostitution happens, I think there is a need to make sure it’s as well regulated as possible for the health of people involved and for the safety of the ladies themselves,” Hollis said.

“That’s not to say I approve of prostitution in any way. I would be very much happier if there was no prostitution in Portsmouth,” he told The Portsmouth News.

“But it’s going to be there whatever we do and it has been from time immemorial. So I think that is something we have to be realistic about.”

His comments, of course, won praise from Rachel Frost, from the International Union for Sex Workers. “The bishop should be commended for having the guts to come out and say that,” she said.

You know, when the head of the IUSW is in your corner, you’re probably in the wrong corner. This whole thing reminds me of the political dodge of being personally pro-life but publicly pro-choice. It didn’t make sense when candidates say it. And this bishop really really doesn’t make sense to me.