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A New Pope Who Defends the Old Truths

Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page B06

The Post's coverage of the passing of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI generally has been respectful, fair and informative. I cannot say the same for the April 20 editorial on the new pope.

The church does not, as the editorial suggested, reject new medical technologies "out of hand." A number of cardinals have developed extensive knowledge about biomedical issues, and they have spoken authoritatively and deliberately on those issues and their interaction with Catholic doctrine.

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With regard to condoms and AIDS, other avenues seem to be just as effective at stopping the spread of this scourge without being based on the assumption that people are too stupid or weak to control their behavior. Pope John Paul II argued that people can and should be trusted to make moral choices.

Americans need to recognize that the church is not about comfort and fit. It is about calling us to reach beyond our personal motives and interests -- to reach out to God by reaching out to his people -- in love and fraternity, not by treating them as too uneducated to care for themselves.

Science and communication race ever faster with new technologies, but many truths are fundamental. It is those truths the church must proclaim.


Edgewater, Md.

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