16 MONTROSE VOICE/FEBRUARY 27, 1987
Catholics in a
By Patricia McCormack
NEW YORK (UPI)—Roman Catholic
educators are gearing up their own pro
grams to combat the spread of AIDS,
but church doctrine has stripped them
of what many scientists say is the most
effective weapon short of sexual
"Clearly, we are not in favor of condoms." Sister Joy Clough, R.S.M.,
media coordinator for the archdiocese of
Chicago, told United Press International. The archdiocese runs the largest
Catholic school system in the world
with 175,000 students.
Sister Clough said that while the Chicago archdiocese does not yet have an
AIDS education program in place, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin "is very concerned about AIDS, and he has
mandated that AIDS instruction take
place in our schools and in religious education programs."
"At the same time," Sister Clough
said, Bernardin "does not see condoms
as the answer to the AIDS crisis."
Bernardin, himself, recently criticized the use of condom advertisements
"I am opposed ... because I cannot
support advertising whose immediate
aim is good—the prevention of
disease—but which implicitly and
explicitly condones promiscuity, questions the normalness of heterosexual
marriage as the proper context for sexual intimacy or artificially separates
the love-making and life-making dimension of marital intimacy," he said.
Therein lies the church's dilemma.
U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop
has publicly stated that next to abstinence, condoms offer the greatest protection against the spread of acquired
immune deficiency syndrome, the fatal
disease that destroys the body's
immune system. Koop advocates AIDS
education programs—beginning in elementary school—that include the use of
But longstanding Roman Catholic
teaching has condemned the use of artificial birth control methods, including
condoms. The church, with a school system in the United States that educates
2.8 million youngsters a year, teaches
that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful.
In general, church leaders across the
nation agree with Bernardin.
"Speaking as an individual. I would
say that in a Catholic school context I
don't see how one can advocate use of a
birth control device—condoms—as a
mean of preventing AIDS," said the
Rev. Stephen O'Brien, executive director ofthe National Catholic Education
Association's office of administrators of
"In a Catholic school setting, you
wouldn't have a health class on avoiding venereal disease, for example, nut-
side a religious education context. The
whole morality of sexuality is involved.
The ideal is that sex is for marriage."
"We believe that we can say with
some assurance that students in
Catholic schools throughout the country are taught the church's position on
human sexuality," said Sister Catherine McNamee. president of the
Washington, D.C.-based National
Catholic Education Association.
"Regarding the specific issue of
AIDS, it seems important that students
be taught that this is a very serious,
usually fatal disease. The Catholic
schools also should make a special
effort to witness Gospel values in order
to conquer the prejudice arising with the
AIDs epidemic and encourage both students and parents to exercise Christian
compassion toward victims of the disease and their families.
A recent survey by the weekly publication. National Catholic Reporter, said
that among "significant" Catholic
school systems in the United States,
only Oakland, Calif., plans to discuss
condoms in AIDS education programs.
Sister Rosemary Hennessey, schools
superintendent for the Oakland system,
said she felt condoms and other issues
were necessary topics of discussion.
"If we're afraid to talk about condoms
and all the other issues AIDs raises,
then we're really missing it," Sister
Hennessey said. "In the meantime, people are dying."
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Pope to Face
Gay Scorn in
his U.S. Tour
By Paula Butturini
VATICAN CITY (UPI)-Pope John
Paul II will face anger in San Francisco's gay community on his tour of the
United States this September.
Some church officials fear trouble
when the pope stops in San Francisco,
where the large and militant gay community is outraged over the Vatican
view of homosexuality as a "moral
The city is widely viewed as the riskiest stop on the papal tour, with Vatican
sources fearing anti-pope demonstrations similar to protests that marred his
1985 trip to the Netherlands. San Francisco's gay community remains angry
over the Vatican's Oct. 30, 1986, document on homosexuality, which bluntly
calls homosexual behavior "an intrinsic moral evil," "self-indulgent," and
The city originally was the final stop
on the pope's trip, but church officials
added Detroit to the schedule when
fears arose about San Francisco.
"They probably decided it might not
be a good idea to risk ending the trip on
a sour note," said one Vatican source.
Another church source said Detroit's
800,000 Polish-Americans, who are predominantly Catholic, might be a welcome sight to the pontiff "after seeing
A scheduled meeting with nuns and
priests in San Francisco also could produce some fireworks like the pope's 1979
meeting with 5,000 nuns in Washington, D.C, when Sister Theresa Kane,
one of the country's leading nuns, confronted the pontiff with a request that
he consider women for the priesthood.
The pope, a firm opponent ofthe idea,
instead called on nuns to be selfless in
their service to the church and to return
to wearing traditional habits.
Also in California, the pope faces dissent over Vatican pressure on Jesuit
Terrance Sweeney to suppress results of
a poll of U.S. bishops that expressed
disagreement on priestly celibacy and
Another source of controversy exists
in Seattle, where Vatican officials
forced Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen to relinquish part of his authority to a church-appointed auxiliary. The
Vatican was concerned that Hunthausen was too liberal in granting
marriage annulments and, among
other things, allowed a group of gay and
lesbian Catholics to celebrate mass in
Trouble also has arisen over stripping
the Rev. Charles Curran of his right to
teach theology at Catholic University
in Washington, D.C. Curran raised Vatican ire for some of his views on homosexuality, pre-marital sex, birth control
Dismissing two U.S. nuns for signing
a 1984 ad in The New York Times saying the church's ban on abortion is "not
the only Catholic position" also has
strained relations between Rome and
the American church.
In each case, Vatican sources say, the
pope has been especially disturbed by
what he views as a lack of U.S. obedience to central church authority. U.S.
critics argue that Vatican efforts t<>
impose a stricter orthodoxy stifle theological creativity and amount to intimidation.