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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September 2003, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Sex and the Holy City
Vatican City
Sex and the Holy City was broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, 12 October, 2003 at 22:15 BST.

This week marks 25 years since Pope John Paul was elected to Saint Peter's throne.

Yet as his reign is widely celebrated, millions of women around the world may feel they have reason to regret his long rule - and the global battles he has waged against contraception, abortion and condoms.

In the West, many Catholics ignore the Church's teachings on sex. But in poorer countries - from where the next Pope may emerge - the words of the priest on sex still matter, whether spoken from the pulpit or to a government minister.

The Pope believes everyone - not just the world's billion Catholics - should follow the Vatican's teaching.

And he's tried to make sure the world listens - becoming a key player in the bitter global debate over women's rights and reproductive health.

Panorama has travelled across four continents to talk to those directly affected by the Pope's conservative teachings on sex.

The team has discovered that the Catholic Church - contrary to mainstream scientific opinion - is claiming that condoms have microscopic holes in them which allow the HIV virus through.

The World Health Organisation has condemned this view as dangerous.

Panorama also meets the pro-life mayor who has taken control of Manila City's health clinics, banning the Pill and condoms, and schoolgirls raped by their own father, yet obliged to carry his babies to term.

All on behalf of a Pope who once helped his predecessor Pope Paul VI to reject the Pill against the views of the Vatican's own advisors.

In this unique documentary, Steve Bradshaw investigates how the Pope who tried to act in the best interests of women came to be accused by his opponents of ruining so many lives.

Production team:
Reporter: Steve Bradshaw
Producer: Chris Woods
Assistant Producers: Lucy Willmore, Louise Turner, Deborah Dwek
Deputy Editors: Andy Bell, Sam Collyns
Editor: Mike Robinson



SEE ALSO
Sex and the Holy City
29 Sep 03 |  Panorama
Vatican - condoms don't stop HIV
10 Oct 03 |  Panorama
The Humanae Vitae
10 Oct 03 |  Panorama
Profile: Pope John Paul II
02 Oct 03 |  Europe
Your comments
10 Oct 03 |  Panorama

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