MORALS AND BIOETHICS
What is the Church's position on aids?
Many people are affected. Are they not responsible for their situation?
Aids (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) - what a medical and social problem! It grows much faster than the progress of science doing its best to overcome it. This is especially true of certain African countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
There may be Aids victims in our families. There may also be people infected by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Without being sick, they live a stressful life since they can become ill at any time. Will they feel condemned and excluded? Will we offer them Christian hope and fraternal support?
We must not repudiate our moral convictions toward a false sexual liberation or an abuse of drugs, but whether the Aids victims are responsible or not, we should not judge them. They suffer very much; let us not leave them without any human hope.
Saint Paul stated: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of all" (I Tm 1: 15). We all need His mercy and we must show sympathy. There are people lying about, hurt, along our human paths... Will we ignore them or imitate the good Samaritan (Lk 10: 29sq)?
There are so many prejudices regarding the victims of Aids! There is much ignorance toward the sickness which, in 1981, brutally appeared. Are the Aids victims our modern lepers? Contagious, untouchable people, real pariahs? Must we refuse housing and work to those affected by the virus? Let us put away fear and prejudice to help the Aids sufferers and their families. We must love them unconditionally.
The Canadian episcopate, like other episcopates, invites us to substitute compassion for fear in regard to people infected by the virus or those already ill because of Aids. It also urges us to have a good look at the situation and promote a spirit of solidarity with concerned people (March 16, 1989).
This illness can not be eradicated simply by offering contraceptives and new syringes. If we are to help Aids victims, affirmed the Pope, we must all work to prevent the growth of this plague. Beyond the illness of Aids there is the tragedy of a permissive society that rejects moral values: human dignity, emotional and responsible maturity, and true selfless love.
The Pope is concerned for young people threatened by this infectious disease. His wish is that we all be concerned with their problem.
The Pope says to those who suffer from Aids: "Do not feel isolated. The Church is with you to support you in your difficult situation... Never forget Jesus' invitation: 'Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest'" (Mt 11: 28).
And to the families of the victims of Aids, he adds that they must "give an ardent testimony of faith and love by surrounding them with proper attention and affectionate care without ever thinking of abandoning them".
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