Don't reject or abandon AIDS victims, Pope says

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Pope BenedictVATICAN CITY, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Sufferers of infectious diseases such as AIDS should not be victims of prejudice, rejection and indifference by a society obsessed with personal physical beauty and health, Pope Benedict said on Friday.

The Pope, speaking to participants of a conference on the pastoral care of patients with infectious diseases, said the dignity of all sick people had to respected, regardless of which disease they had or how they may have contracted it.

"Among the prejudices that hinder or limit efficient care for victims of infectious diseases is the attitude of indifference and even exclusion or rejection which sometimes emerges in a rich society," he told the group.

"This attitude is even fostered by the image given in the media of men and women who are mostly concerned about their own physical beauty, health and biological vitality," he said.

Locking oneself in "one's own little world" while others suffered from often repugnant diseases was becoming "a dangerous social trend," he said.

He called for renewed efforts by scientists and doctors to find cures for infectious diseases such as AIDS, leprosy, plague, tuberculosis and ebola, as well as methods of allevating the suffering of those already victims.

In his address, the Pope did not mention the Church's position on AIDS and condoms, which still has not been definitively formulated.

The Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms and teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage, chastity and abstinence are the best ways to stop the spread of AIDS.

It says promoting condoms fosters immoral and hedonistic behaviour that will only contribute to its spread. It teaches that homosexual acts are sinful in the first place.

The Pope has commissioned a study by two Vatican departments for use in a possible future papal document on AIDS and condoms.

In recent years, several top Church officials have called for a change in Vatican policy on condoms to allow their use by married couples where one partner is affected by HIV or AIDS.

But the Vatican has been loath to issue any document that could be interpreted as a green light for the use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS, fearing it would endorse promiscuity.

Last Tuesday, the latest United Nations report on AIDS said HIV infections were on the rise in all regions and that nearly 40 million adults and children were infected worldwide.

source - Reuters 

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This page contains a single entry by ID Admin published on November 27, 2006 12:19 AM.

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