MARTIN Pendergast (December 19) refers to an article in the British Medical Journal justifying the promotion of condoms as a public health measure against AIDS. The tone of this article in the BMJ is not surprising as it was written by the research officer of Family Planning Information Services. The raison d' etre of the Family Planning Association and its justifications is the promotion of artificial contraception.
Many doctors, myself included, would not agree with this article on medical grounds or moral grounds. In a disease with the severity of AIDS promotion of measures which are not and cannot be 100 per cent effective is not good medicine when there is another way — namely self control — We wholeheartedly support Cardinal Hume when he said in an ITV interview with Robert Kee on December 13 that "the promotion of condoms is a counsel of despair."
Patricia O'Brien (Dr.) Master, Midland branch of the Guild of Catholic Doctors Birmingham • DERYCK Hanshell, SJ is a Catholic priest, ordained to preach the gospel, and vested with authority to do so. His contribution on AIDS (December 26) should therefore be received with the respect due to Christ's spokesman.
It was a statement of plain fact, not fanciful in any way, that when nature is abused it fails, as appointed by God's providence. To us, this acts beneficially as penalty and deterrent; all the more a deterrent as our sin may cause suffering to the innocent. Yes, it does try one's faith.
Mary Lynch London N9