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Letters to the Editor

Bright lines

| Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

Trib readers react to the letter " Condoms a non-moral solution " (Dec. 1 and TribLIVE.com), in which board-certified infectious diseases physician Amesh A. Adalja of Butler addresses a recent statement by Pope Benedict XVI:

Annamarie Liptak , North Huntingdon -- It is extremely unfortunate that Dr. Adalja does not understand the differences between morality and practicality. He states that morality is a guide for living one's life. The Catholic Church would agree.

Catholics turn to the church for this guidance based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Is Dr. Adalja suggesting that we all just make our own lists of right and wrong and follow those as we see fit?

He also states that morality is not a recipe to gain admission into some mythical realm. Again, I think the church would agree. Catholics believe that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have gained us the privilege of living eternity with the God who created us and loves us.

We follow the moral guidelines of the church to the best of our abilities to show love and honor to God and to each other. I would think Dr. Adalja would be grateful that the pope did acknowledge that the use of condoms is a sign of the desire for one human being to not harm another. It would be more practical to take this small point of agreement than to demand a total reversal by the church.

Kris Sanders, Squirrel Hill -- Clearly, Amesh Adalja rejects the Catholic belief in papal infallibility, but does he believe in condom infallibility• Promoting such a belief in condoms can actually enable the spread of AIDS by conveying a false sense of security in high-risk behavior.

Indeed, I'd like to ask him: How likely is it for those who practice abstinence outside marriage and fidelity within marriage to get AIDS• And if these behaviors are the true AIDS-preventers, why disparage the church for promoting them?

In his widely mischaracterized remarks, Pope Benedict actually reiterated the church's opposition to the use of condoms and said that the real and moral solution to AIDS is a "humanization of sexuality." Benedict is preaching respect for, and confidence in, our God-given human capacity to exercise self-mastery and achieve true love, and those who dismiss all this as a myth are actually denigrating our human nature.

Board-certified pediatric physician Brian W. Donnelly, Gibsonia -- Amesh Adalja falsely claims that the Catholic Church is recognizing the "crucial role that condoms play in halting transmission of HIV." Unfortunately for Adalja, the pope's statement on condom usage and male prostitutes was hypothetical and taken out of context.

By analogy, if a man is going to rob a bank and intends to use a gun, the church would argue that he should use an unloaded gun. This would minimize the risk of endangering innocent life. That position does not mean the church condones robbing a bank.

The church's position on condom use, like its position on robbing banks, has not changed. In fact, the church's position on both the male prostitute and the bank robber would be: "Dude, get a real job!"

The Catholic Church maintains that sexual relations outside of marriage are immoral and that chastity (with a failure rate of 0 percent) needs to be the weapon that wins this war.

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