KEVIN McKenna really ought to know better than to join in with the recent media frenzy surrounding the Pope's comments ("Earthly powers won't like Pope's sexuality message", The Herald, October 24)).

Mr McKenna says that comments made by Pope Francis in the documentary Francesco are "the most significant papal intervention on human sexuality since Pope Paul VI" and are an "endorsement of same-sex partnerships".

The Pope hasn't changed his mind about same-sex partnerships nor is he changing church teaching. In fact, the Holy Father is acting very much in persona Christi by reaching out to those who have been marginalised by their families and society as a whole.

Mr McKenna recognises that Pope Francis is "communicating something much more profound and authentically human: that gay people... are children of God and as deserving as anyone else of His mercy...". However, this is nothing new, for the Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly states that people with homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard must be avoided".

The headlines and Mr McKenna have spoken, but once again they have miserably misled readers. What Pope Francis has said is not problematic, but the lack of context is. People need clarity, not confusion.

Martin Conroy, Cockburnspath, Berwickshire.


IAN W Thomson (Letters, October 26) oversimplifies matters by saying the Labour Government went for nuclear weapons for kudos.

At the end of the Second World War, our "good allies", the United States, betrayed Britain by refusing to share atomic bomb research despite using British scientists to create theirs. In order to disabuse the US that Britain's indebtedness to her rendered us little more than another of its "client states", the building of our own atomic bomb and subsequent hydrogen bomb – however foolhardy in cost – gave due note to Uncle Sam that British foreign policy hereafter was not merely Washington's, an action which amongst other things stopped us being press-ganged into the Vietnam War which saw almost 60,000 Americans of one generation sacrificed in stopping one butchering regime from conquering another, simply because it was an American puppet regime.

Even two of the most ardent critics of nuclear weapons in the Commons, Tony Benn and Enoch Powell, conceded that the US was such an untrustworthy "friend", the UK had to demonstrate independence of foreign policy lest it show designs in interfering in our domestic politics next. Their point was in the intercontinental ballistic missile era, they had grown so absurd in cost and destructiveness to a country of our acreage it was absurd to keep them.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone.


I NOTE Nick Rodger’s article on the ever-changing aspects of golf equipment and techniques with particular reference to the prodigious distance off the Tee achieved by Bryson DeChambeau ("Golf’s great distance debate rekindled by DeChambeau", Herald Sport, October 27). If this development is considered to present a problem to the set-up of courses for professional competition, then the answer is surprisingly simple. Rather than go to the extent of adding greater length to the fairway, the out-of-bounds could be defined by the spectator ropes. This could be as tight or generous as each hole demands. For the Golf Club situation fairway limits could be staked and used for Medals but deferred for general play

Perhaps if this method were employed then the game could continue as one of accuracy and touch rather than brute strength.

GW Cross, Saltcoats.