Page 1, 22nd May 1987

22nd May 1987
Page 1
Page 1, 22nd May 1987 — Irish debate the AIDS fight

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Irish debate the AIDS fight

by Martin Newland THE HEAD of the Irish National Task Force on AIDS last week appeared on Irish televisions's The Late Late Show and confirmed the "theological opinion" that in some cases there may be justification in resorting to the use of the condom in marriage.

Fr Paul Lavelle, National Coordinator for the Task Force, which represents the Church's formal attempt at dealing with the Alps epidemic, also hinted that measures taken to protect oneself in illicit sexual relationships cannot make such activity any more sinful. "I would ask if homosexual activity, adultery or fornication are any the more sinful if protection is taken aginst transmitting a disease such as AIDS", Fr Lavelle told the Catholic Herald.

The television interview concerned a book written by Dr Freidman entitled AIDS: The Problem in Ireland which involved a treatment of drug abuse as the prime cause of the disease in Ireland.

"The use of condoms is morally wrong", Fr Lavelle told the Catholic Herald, "But there is a theological opinion that the use of condoms in marriage may be justified in the case of haemophiliacs and other AIDS sufferers,

chiefly because the intention behind the act is not contraception, but protection from a deadly disease."

"The Church has never spoken against condoms in relation to the AIDS issue, it has simply made it clear that behind the solution to AIDS is a reform, of moral behaviour, and the use of the condom. should not prevent people from adopting moral responsibility", he continued.

Fr Lavelle referred explicitly to the Irish bishops' statement of January 15 which described as a "grave danger" the notion that provision of free needles and the use of condoms will prevent the spread of the disease.

The bishops responded to the challenge posed by the epidemic with the creation of the National AIDS Task Force last March which consists of representatives of groups at risk including representatives from the homosexual community.

Mr James Cantwell of the Irish' Catholic Media Office asserted that "Condoms are not the issue, AIDS is the issue. Fr Lavelle was right in asserting that condoms may provide some protection but that nevertheless moral responsibility is the only solution."

Mr Cantwell also strongly denied claims made in the national press that the Church was to officially espouse.the use of the condom in an "official booklet" supposedly launched last weekend.

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