Big papa is watching you

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There are two things that have caused more problems than anything else in the world: sex and religion. Cashing in on the shock factor, Channel 4 is indulging both at once tonight with an hour-long discussion of Catholics and Sex (12.25am C4). Three generations of Catholic women talk about how the church's ban on contraception has affected them. Catholic teenagers talk about purity and they all get into discussion mode with Neil McCafferty, Lynette Burrows and Bishop Victor Guazelli.

Sex has, of course, long been a thorn in the side of many Catholics, and the Pope doesn't seem to want to help much. You could argue that someone who isn't going to be affected by rules isn't necessarily the best person to make them, and the suffering caused worldwide by and for the stream of mouths that families are ill-equipped to feed, is deeply upsetting. I don't think I've ever come across a Catholic (who wasn't a nun) who hadn't at some point made use of some form of contraception, so the effect of Papa's rulings seems merely to produce hypocrisy in those who would search for goodness.

I once overheard a conversation between two brothers. One was trying to provide for an ever-expanding family, and the other had limited his reproduction to three. "My confessor," said the first, "won't allow me to use contraception." "Get a better confessor," said the other.