Letter: Rome should listen to fellow Christians

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Sir: I am surprised that John Wilkins's otherwise excellent article ('Rome's matter of life and faith', 29 July) should seek to lend credence to the notion that Paul VI's Humanae Vitae was prophetic in linking a future deterioration in sexual morality with the lifting of the ban on artificial contraception. Those who see sexual activity solely in hedonistic terms will not be deterred from sexual licence by a papal prohibition of marital practice regarded by every other Christian Church outside the Roman communion and the majority inside it as not only moral but, in many cases, necessary for the good of both particular marriage relationships and the welfare of the world.

It is surely significant that the present hard line of Roman officialdom is directed by a pope who, as Cardinal Wojtyla, was one of the members of the birth-control commission set up by Paul VI but who, as Robert Kaiser points out in his The Encyclical That Never Was (London 1987), never attended a single session of its discussions and so missed the formative influence of the frank exchange of differing views among contributors sincerely intent on discovering objective truth. It is this continued refusal on the part of Rome to listen to the authentic experience of fellow Christians striving to live the Gospel in the real world, rather than the single issue of Humanae Vitae, which is mainly responsible for the Roman Catholic Church's present difficulties.

Yours faithfully,


Purley, London

28 July