The British relief charity Oxfam currently has an advertising campaign running with the slogan "Say 'No' to Rubbish Presents!" I don't really like this way of speaking. I was brought up to understand that it is good manners always to show appreciation for a gift that is genuinely given as an act of love and friendship. The idea of dismissing gifts as "rubbish" seems to me an indication of the coarse selfishness that has overtaken modern Britain.
The point of Oxfam's campaign is to advertise their "Oxfam Unwrapped" initiative. Instead of buying a present for someone, you buy something that will help the poor and then send your friend a card and a fridge magnet instead. One of the "fabulously funusual gifts" that you can order from the "positive pressies" section is condoms. Certainly the most rubbish Christmas idea so far this year.
Of course it is good idea give to charity at Christmas. Here's an idea: select some good charities and send them each a cheque for as much as you can afford. That leaves you free to buy some thoughtful gifts for your friends and family to show your love for them.
For further information on the condoms and AIDS debate, see the article by Cardinal Trujillo "Family Values versus Safe Sex" which is published on the Vatican website. This excellent and informative study has been published as a booklet by Human Life International together with a study by Brian Clowes. Cardinal Trujillo's position was caricatured by the BBC programme "Sex and the Holy City". Although the programme actually helped to provide cover for a child rapist and has been thoroughly discredited in Robin Aitken's book "Can we Trust the BBC?" many people still think that it was Cardinal Trujillo who was discredited. His article is well worth reading.