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Condoms and the Pope

Tom Sutcliffe (Social Studies, 24 August) states that "Roman Catholic priests [are] historically a proven hazard to younger members of their congregation". Should I ignore this comment on the grounds that journalists are liars?

Some priests have committed serious crimes and the behaviour of some of the Church hierarchy in covering these up has been unacceptable, but it is equally unacceptable to proclaim that all are guilty, or to imply that the presence of Catholic priests at an event represents a danger to children.

Mr Sutcliffe then describes the Pope as a "threat" because of his teachings on condoms and Aids prevention. I happen to think that the Church has got this one wrong; however, I have never seen any newspaper articles which place this in the context of wider Catholic teaching on sexual morality.

Were this teaching – chastity outside of marriage and faithfulness within – to be widely followed, it seems at least probable that the Aids epidemic would be significantly less severe. It will be argued that this is unrealistic and not acceptable to the majority of people; fair enough, but why should someone who does not consider himself or herself bound by this requirement feel unable to use a condom because the Catholic Church does not approve?

Argued criticism of the Church's teaching on condoms is perfectly acceptable; the demonising of Benedict XVI and John Paul II as personally responsible for the spread of Aids is not.

J McGinnis, Stockton on Tees

Belfast Telegraph


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