'Catholic Woodstock' Activists Want Pope to Allow Condom Use

He thinks it's important for a "small minority" to express its opinion, but best to ignore it, saying that the church has legitimate means to combat AIDS and that sex should remain within marriage.

Quoting Pope John Paul II's book called "Love and Responsibility," Loyola College professor of theology Stephen Miles explains that the pope justified the church's traditional stance on sex because it represents a total self-giving on the part of the partners. "Sex for the sake of pleasure is about self-gratification, so it interferes with our efforts to realize our vocation," said Miles.

Humanity's vocation is to give ourselves away according to the pope's writings, he said. Catholicism teaches that sex has two purposes, one of which is to unite with your partner and the other is to have children -- neither excludes pleasure, he adds. "Legitimizing contraception would divide both purposes," said Miles.

Self-Service Catholics

What about Catholics who let their libido loose, not following the church's teachings?

Miles calls those people "cafeteria Catholics" in the sense that they take what they agree with and leave the rest behind.

In his view, the church cannot promote the use of contraception because indirectly it would promote nontraditional sex, even if it may stop the spread of AIDS or other sexual diseases.

"The church has an interest in listening to others but it resolves differences through careful study of stricture," Miles said. Catholics have to be very careful bringing interest group mentality into the church, he added. To him the "Catholics for a Free Choice" point of view lacks religious rigor. "If there is to be an argument for contraception, it has to address the teaching of the church and if it does, then the church would have to change teachings."

O'Gorman seems unfazed by the criticism. She said the throngs of people in Cologne, including nuns, have been quite receptive to discussing issues and taking the promotional stuff they've been handing out. However, condoms aren't among the goodies.

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