ALTHOUGH the Irish Guild of SS. Luke. Cosrims and Damian will be issuing a statement on the Pope's birth-control encyclical, the 2,500 doctors who are members of the English Guild will not be getting a directive.
"There's no reason why we should give one out at all," said Dr. J. G. Frost, guild secretary, this week. "On issues such as the Abortion Act we are issuing one because of the legal issues involved, and this could be complicated; here, however. there's nothing like that.
"Doctors are, after all, educated people, and should be able to use their reason."
In Ireland, however, where it is widely acknowledged that the pill is not used merely for therapeutic purposes, the guild is issuing a statement in the near future.
This follows a statement issued in Belfast by Dr. Raymond Magill, the guild's secretary, which Dr. R. O'Donoghue, Master-General, claimed was unrepresentative of the guild's views as a whole.
In his statement, Dr. Magill declared that the guild "fully accepted the Papal encyclical and will play its part loyally in implementing the same."
He went on to say that only ten per cent of married couples knew how to use the safeperiod accurately, and called for the wide dissemination of information on this subject.
However, Dr. O'Donoghue said that this view was unrepresentative, since all branches of the guild had not been consulted.
"The National Council of the guild will meet in the near future to• discuss thet matter, and it will subsequently issue a full statement clarifying the situation."
But, in Dublin. a group of 21 doctors issued a statement saying, "We, Catholic medical practitioners, having examined the encyclical Humanae Vitae, wish to record our anxiety lest the document be interpreted with a rigidity which in our view as medical scientists, is scarcely justified.
"Every effort should continue to be made to meet the difficulties that constantly arise when medical doctors are called on to assist married couples in the exercise of responsible parenthood."