From Fr Bryan Storey SIR – How ridiculous to suggest the Pope is muddling things up over the condom issue (Report, March 20). As with other so-called communication problems there are obvious attempts to promote a problem that’s in fact created by his questioners, opponents and those appearing to explain for him. Nobody speaks with greater insight, wisdom and clarity on issues. He does not need any specialised help.
On this particular issue he says what has been ignored and needs highlighting. It’s a change of inner attitude on the whole question of sexuality that is called for, rather than a discussion on methods of birth control.
No wonder his opponents thunder, make theatrical protests and call it a confusion. It is they who are confused and create confusion, making up good irresponsible stories.
Yours faithfully, BRYAN STOREY St Paul the Apostle, Tintagel, Cornwall From Mr Paul Kokoski SIR – While few would compare Pope Benedict XVI to John Lennon, their methods of saving humanity are in some sense similar.
In the Sixties John Lennon pushed for peace with his anti-war sign: “War is over, if you want it.” His message was meant to convey the simple fact that peace is merely a matter of the people willing it. Obviously, the fact that most nations and individuals are today at war with one another – both on the battlefields and in the court rooms – indicates that few people really want peace. Posing as peaceniks, what they really want is their own individual “rights” regardless of the consequences this may have for others.
This same kind of selfish freedom that has historically prevented peace also stands in the way of abolishing the Aids virus. Aids can be eradicated tomorrow if, as the Pope suggests, people were simply willing to exercise a little self-constraint and practise abstinence and marital fidelity.
Barring this refusal to submit oneself to the natural law no amount of money or mass influx of condoms to various nations will stop the spread of the deadly virus. On the contrary it will only aggravate the problem just as the fictitious kind of individual “rights” we have all championed since the Sixties has led to a mass proliferation of war and hostility.
Pope Paul VI rightly predicted back in 1968 that failure to follow the dictates of natural law on contraception would lead to a lowering of moral standards, a rise in infidelity and promiscuity, a lessening of respect for women and government-enforced limitations on population.
Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of “doing for the sake of doing”. We must resist this temptation by trying “to be” before trying “to do”.
Yours faithfully, PAUL KOKOSKI Hamilton, Ontario, Canada From Mrs Maureen Thomas
SIR – Living in the West it is difficult for us to truly appreciate the issues surrounding Aids and condoms in Africa. I was struck by this thought when reading the reflections of Fr Michael Czerny SJ, director of the African Jesuit Aids Network, in America magazine. I hope you will allow me to quote him at some length.
He wrote: “We learn as we go along that Aids is very complex. HIV is a virus that reduces and destroys the immune system. But it’s also a cultural, familial, communal and spiritual reality. The fight against Aids has to be carried forward on all those fronts. Westerners feel very strongly that the condom is the minimal responsible thing to do. But this is to make sexuality into a very individual choice: the exercise of sexuality is not embedded in marriage, much less in the larger cultural context...
“In Africa, sexual expression is rarely consensual and often coerced. Also – this is very important and why I feel the condom is not the answer – much of the propagation of HIV is older men giving it to younger girls...
“Aids is part and parcel of a whole syndrome of injustices. Let Africa find its rightful place in the world economy, and Aids will go away. Make international agricultural policy favourable to Africa, for example, and Africa will blossom. Aids will fade away because people will be able to earn their living and feed themselves properly.” Yours faithfully, MAUREEN THOMAS Blackpool