From Fr Bernard O’Connor OSA SIR – John Gunn suggests (Letters Mar 18) that the Catholic Church’s teaching Magisterium “does not condone the use of condoms in any circumstances”.
The Church’s teaching on contraception is found in the encyclical Humanae Vitae, and nothing has been added to that teaching since then. The encyclical deals with the use of contraceptives within marriage and excludes any action which “is specifically intended to prevent procreation” (paragraph 14). What is at issue is the contraceptive intention in whatever action is taken, and within a marriage relationship. The word “condom” does not appear in the encyclical.
Furthermore in paragraph 15, “the Church in no way regards as unlawful therapeutic means considered necessary to cure organic diseases, even though they also have a contraceptive effect”. The spirit of the encyclical would allow, in my humble opinion, the word “cure” to include “prevent”, and therefore, would not condemn the means used to prevent transmission of disease between married partners, even if such means have a contraceptive effect.
Yours faithfully, BERNARD O’CONNOR Harborne, W Midlands From H Gallagher SIR – Replying to the letter from Jim McManus (Mar 4), I would point out that Catholics do not take their sexual morality from theologians or from public health specialists but from Rome and the Pope who as successor to St Peter, has been given the mandate to feed Christ’s lambs and sheep and confirm his brethren.
If condoms can be licitly used, where is the official pronouncement from the Holy Father or from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirming that concession and rescinding the statement in Humanae Vitae that, even for the gravest reasons, evil may not be done that good may follow?
Also, if the Holy See has now changed its stance on the use of condoms in HIV/Aids prevention, how is it that when the Spanish bishops recently issued a statement voicing support for condoms for such prevention, they were immediately required by Rome to recant and to stick to the orthodox teaching?
Yours faithfully, H GALLAGHER Upminster, Essex
From the Rev Donald G Kerridge
SIR – I read with interest and approval the report (Mar 4) by Simon Caldwell on Prosperity with a Purpose, in which Churches Together has united to put the issue of poverty on the political agenda.
However, as a lifetime socialist I took exception to the remark of Clifford Longley, for whom I have a great respect, when he is said to have stated about the book, "Distinctive from socialist ideology, the document criticises the notion that wealth is created only by making poor people poorer." Socialism is concerned with the adage, “from each according to his ability to each according to his need”, a simple philosophy, and true socialism.
Yours faithfully, Donald G. Kerridge Worcester Park, Surrey