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Associated Press
Bishops Emphasize Ethics in Ban on Condoms

November 3, 1989
LEAD: To the Editor:

To the Editor:

Individuals of varying backgrounds, from Aristotle to C. S. Lewis, maintain that a person's actions must conform to human nature if they are to be classified as "morally good." According to natural law ethics, fidelity to human nature as a norm of action is more important than life itself.

"Catholics, Condoms and AIDS" (editorial, Oct. 20), on the draft report by a committee of Roman Catholic bishops that rejects use of condoms to retard the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, states, "morality surely indicates the use of condoms" to limit the spread of infection.

True, everyone with AIDS is gravely obliged not to infect others with the dread disease. Please note, however, that the Catholic bishops are simply insisting there exists a natural-law duty not to use immoral means to achieve a desirable end. For the ethical realist, the use of a condom is a serious frustration of the generative function and is never allowable.

To be sure, the bishops do not look benignly on the spread of AIDS. In their report, however, they refuse to countenance activity that is gravely immoral in the purview of natural law. KENNETH F. SLATTERY Jamaica, Queens, Oct. 23, 1989

The writer is philosophy department chairman at St. John's University.