The July 25 news story about the 25th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical on artificial contraception noted that Protestants too once disapproved of contraception, but that "attitudes began a historic shift" earlier in this century. However, some readers may have concluded incorrectly from the article's statement that the "Anglican Church bishops okayed contraception for married couples" in their 1930 Lambeth Conference declaration that the bishops gave carte blanche to routine use of artificial birth control.

In fact, the bishops said married couples could use artificial means only "where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence." Abstinence, according to the bishops, remained the "primary and obvious method" for limiting or avoiding parenthood.

A few months after the Lambeth Conference, a committee of the Federal Council of Churches (a predecessor of the National Council of Churches) endorsed "the careful and restrained use of contraceptives by married people." The next day {March 22, 1931}, The Post declared that "carried to its logical conclusion, the committee's report ... would sound the death-knell of marriage as a holy institution, by establishing degrading practices, which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be 'careful and restrained' is preposterous."

It is pretty much beyond dispute that what The Post predicted in 1931 has come to pass, although The Post no longer deplores that result or uses the term "immorality" to describe it. JAMES M. GUINIVAN Arlington