I am writing about Tony Norman's March 20 column, "The Pope's Message of No Hope on AIDS." It employs Catholic stereotypes that are not acceptable and that we all know would not be tolerated if they were advanced about any other group.
Mr. Norman asserts that the pope has great wealth and temporal power. The pope lives simply, trying to bring Christ to the world. When he makes pronouncements, he is trying to deliver a spiritual message, not engage in political games. While the pope is a head of state, he is first and foremost the vicar of Christ on earth. His words must be viewed from that perspective and not from a provincial political viewpoint. Furthermore, to say the pope is out of touch because he is surrounded by beautiful art in the Vatican is absurd.
Mr. Norman then unsuccessfully tries to address papal infallibility, which concerns matters of faith and morals. He denounces it as a "curious anachronism" while admitting he is not Catholic; why does he care when it does not affect him? Finally, when Mr. Norman concludes that denouncing condoms is worse than using them, will he be there to comfort those who, despite using a condom, get AIDS from a defective or misused condom? Catholics in hospitals and hospices across the world show Christ to others in so doing.
SUSAN A. FANI
Director of Communications
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
New York, N.Y.