BY VIVIANE HEWITT
ONE OF ITALY'S most popular television personalities a Catholic priest has urged the hierarchy to launch a debate within the Church on the possibility of permitting the use of condoms to help prevent Aids.
Speaking at an Aids conference in Rome, Father Antonio Mazzi said that "the time has come for Catholics to debate the use of condoms. People like me know how difficult it is not to permit this in certain circumstances".
He urged the Italian Episcopal Conference to launch the initiative in the Church to assess whether clergy should still adhere to what he called "guidelines" or "explore the question more thoroughly". He appealed to the hierarchy to allow priests to carry out "experiments" allowing the use of condoms in certain cases.
The Italian Episcopal Conference, chaired by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome Camillo Ruini who is the Pope's "stand-in" as Bishop of Rome, promptly rejected Fr Mazzi's proposal.
In a press interview moral theologian and bio-ethics expert, Fr Lino Ciccone, stressed that permitting the use of condoms would "foster promiscuity".
"If this disease (sic) has assumed the characteristics of an epidemic, it is entirely owing to sexual promiscuity and the condom does not limit this promiscuity.
Indeed, it fosters it", Professor Ciccone added.