Is Pope's stance on condoms and Aids in Africa a triumph of dogma over sense?

Shortly after Dr Edward Jenner discovered the vaccine for smallpox in the 19th century, the president of Yale University, Timothy Dwight, opposed its use on theological grounds. Dwight, a so-called "divine", regarded curing smallpox as interfering with God's grand plan.

It may seem strange now that a religious extremist could be so callous as to put Church dogma before a provable method of infection control, but that is just what elderly theocrat Benedict XVI is doing with his opposition to contraception in Africa.

Benedict claims studies show that abstinence is the best way of stopping the spread of HIV. This is a lie. The distribution of condoms is the best way to stop the spread of HIV, period.

The current Pontiff is the most extreme since Pius XII. He has no credibility. Last week Catholics in Brazil were told they could be excommunicated if they had helped perform an abortion on a nine-year-old who had been raped, but, strangely, not if they had been involved in the rape that impregnated her.

ALAN HINNRICHS

Noran Avenue

Dundee

Pope Paul VI rightly predicted 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.

Those who advocate condoms to stem the spread of HIV/Aids are misguided; they only aggravate the problem. The only foolproof and morally legitimate solution to preventing Aids is abstinence and marital fidelity.

PAUL KOKOSKI

Columbia Drive

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Article 93 of the old Penny Catechism says the Pope "cannot err when ... he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals, to be held by the whole Church".

So it is with his much-derided comments on the use of prophylactics to "prevent" the spread of STDs.

The UK's National Blood Service will not entertain blood donations from anyone who has ever engaged in anal sex, condom or not. This is a measure of how "safe" they really are.

PATRICK McKAY

Wingate Drive

Ampthill, Bedfordshire

Pope Benedict says condoms increase the problem of Aids and HIV.

Can he not understand that by repeating this absurd and wicked falsehood, he will only perpetuate the scourge of Aids and HIV and ensure countless innocent lives will be lost?

DAVE DISS

Wilkins Street

Glengowrie, Australia

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