ROME, September 30, 2004 ( – The Pope’s message for 2005’s World Day of the Sick has been published by the Vatican. It emphasized the ability of all persons to live chaste lives. Millions are suffering from AIDS in Africa and its social and economic consequences are devastating the continent.

Pope John Paul II said, “As for the problem of AIDS, I already have underlined on other occasions that it is also ‘a pathology of the spirit’. To combat it in a responsible manner it is necessary to work on its prevention through an education that respects the sacred value of life and the living of true and honest sexuality.”

Roman Catholic teaching says that that all persons, regardless of their economic condition, are capable of virtue. However, the UK’s Catholic Agency for Overseas Development imply in an article on their website that Africans are incapable of making moral choices. CAFOD says that Catholic morality for AIDS prevention in Africa is ‘simplistic,’ because it requires “that autonomous individuals make informed choices based on in-depth understanding of the facts.”

In contrast, the Pope assumes that the people of Africa are able to make moral choices as well as people in the developed world. He reiterated a statement from the Catholic bishops of Africa saying, “the love, joy, happiness, and peace that are gained from a Christian marriage and fidelity, just like the security, safety and health guaranteed by chastity, must be continuously presented to the faithful, especially to the youth.”

Pope John Paul’s II words are supported by facts. In all the countries that organizations like the UNFPA have inundated with condoms, AIDS rates continue to soar. In Uganda however, the government has undertaken a programme promoting fidelity in marriage and chastity for youth and that country enjoys the lowest rate of AIDS/HIV infection in Africa.  Text of the Pope’s speech (Italian):


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