Bishops' Conference to Reconsider AIDS Paper
Dec. 29, 1987
NEW YORK (AP) _ A Roman Catholic position paper that earlier this month gave qualified approval to church-sponsored instruction on condoms will get another look from U.S. bishops, said Cardinal John O'Connor's office.
The 380-member United States Catholic Conference will discuss the policy paper on AIDS in June in Minnesota, said the statement issued by O'Connor's office Monday.
O'Connor has called the paper a ''grave mistake,'' and expressed surprise when it was issued by the conference's 50-member administrative board Dec. 10 that it had not been submitted for a full vote by the group.
The conference president, Archbishop John L. May of St. Louis, agreed to present the issue to the larger forum, the statement said.
According to the release, May wrote the other bishops, ''I am sure that all of us are pained by the public reception of the document. It is clear to me that the administrative board's statement needs to be discussed in greater depth by the membership.''
The position paper, titled ''The Many Faces of AIDS: A Gospel Response,'' had said that instruction about condoms could be permitted if presented within the context of church teaching, which advocates ''abstinence outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.'' It did not advocate the use of condoms.
O'Connor was joined by other conservative bishops in criticizing the paper. May said the issue would be on the agenda at the next full conference, set for June in Collegeville, Minn. The administrative board speaks for the larger group between general meetings.
May wrote that after a discussion of the issue, ''we might then be able to agree on certain propositions which could be the basis for clear conference policy.''
May said publicity surrounding the policy paper may have hampered understanding of it. ''The document may have been too long and complicated to expect those unskilled in such matters to appreciate the issues involved,'' he wrote.