From Count Quentin de la Bédoyère SIR – I will try to be as concise as Fra Fredrik Crighton-Stuart (Letter, March 26) on the comments he makes on my article (Comment, March 12) defending the Pope’s stand against condoms being an effective solution to pandemic Aids.
I emphasised that the results for the reliability of condoms, from real life studies considered by the WHO, involved “always” users. Did I really need to add that condoms do not provide an effective barrier when they are not used?
I do not understand what Fra Fredrik means by “technically arguable”. Either the Church has condemned the use of condoms outside marriage or she hasn’t. If Fra Fredrik believes that it is more moral for a fornicator to risk conception or transmission of infection rather than to use a condom, then his moral sense and mine differ to a degree which makes useful discussion impossible.
He speaks of Pope Paul roundly attacking the contraceptive mentality in general. I am entirely with him on this, and I have frequently regretted, in print, the loss of credibility which has prevented the Church from getting this message across. By chance, my column in the issue in which his letter appears is devoted to an important aspect of this.
His last paragraph, which suggests that I am arguing for the prohibition on artificial contraception to be lifted because of human weakness, does not appear to relate to anything I have written, so I do not comment.
Yours faithfully, QUENTIN DE LA BEDOYERE By email