5 JUNE 1964, Page 15

CATHOLICS AND BIRTH CONTROL SIR,-1 entirely agree with Mr. Bruce

Cooper. The Church, basing herself on the commandment, for- bids us to kill, and some, such as the Quakers, have interpreted that command unconditionally, irrespec- tive of consequences. The general mind of the Church has been to say that, while that is the gen- eral rule, there may be particular circumstances when, in self-defence, in a just war or to rescue someone who is attacked, it may be the lesser evil to take life. So the purpose of marriage is to pro- duce children, and intercourse is only wholly satis- factory if it can be indulged in with a readiness to accept the consequence. But what are people to do when for medical reasons a child is not possible? The Dutch bishops have said that though the new methods 'can no more be accepted as the generally used solution to matrimonial distress than the already long-known instrumental means, Catholic moral theologians are discussing the question whether these means could be acceptable in certain circumstances.'