Catholic Church leaders in Ireland have made moves to distance themselves from a hard-hitting leaflet which claims contraception can cause STDs, AIDS – and even cancer.

The threatening flyer, which was spotted by parishioners in St. Mary’s Church in Cork, also warns Mass-goers that contraception can lead to abortion.

And it cautions that users “could get AIDS”, chlamydia or cancer, but stresses that those who remain “chaste and jubilant” will enjoy a “happy marriage” and reap “rich rewards.”

According to The Irish Sun, a St. Mary’s source confirmed the leaflets were being left in, but insisted church leaders did not condone their contents.  

The source said: “The religious nutters are the worst.  They get a few pence and they have these things printed.”

Bishop of Cork John Buckley also made moves to distance the Catholic Church’s links to the offensive circulars.

His spokesman said: “That leaflet certainly didn’t come from the diocesan policy.  We are not aware of it and would not condone it.”

The origin of the leaflet, which was marked ‘urgent warning’ was traced to a local store, ‘Benedictus Bookshop’.

When quizzed about its contents, the shop’s owner, Jim Clear, said it was produced by a customer and stressed he had no problem distributing it for him.

Mr. Clear added: “What this is saying is that contraceptives lead to promiscuity and that promiscuity leads to all these things.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”