By John-Henry Westen and Terry Vanderheyden

VATICAN, November 30, 2005 ( – In its message for the World Day Against AIDS, December 1, 2005, the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care calls AIDS a “planetary evil”. The message, signed by Council President Cardinal Lozano Barragan notes that of the three pathways of AIDS infection – blood, mother to infant and sexual transmission – the third “remains the most important.”

It is “greatly fostered” says the message, “by a kind of pansexual culture that devalues sexuality, reducing it to mere pleasure without any further meaning.” Prevention, it says, “must come from a correct conception and practice of sexuality, where sexual activity is understood in its deep meaning as a total and absolute expression of the fecund giving of love. This totality leads us to the exclusiveness of its exercise in marriage, which is unique and indissoluble. Secure prevention in this field thus lies in the intensification of the solidity of the family.”

The section concludes that “This is the profound meaning of the Sixth Commandment, of the law of God, which constitutes the fulcrum of the authentic prevention of AIDS in the field of sexual activity.”

The Catholic Church is the most active agency in the world in aiding those suffering with AIDS, as evidenced by the fact that more than a quarter – 26.7% of centres for the provision of care in relation to HIV/AIDS in the world are Catholic. On September 12, 2004, Pope John Paul II created the ‘Good Samaritan’ Foundation in order to bring economic help to the sick who are most in need in the world, and in particular to the victims of HIV/AIDS. “During this first year of activity of the Foundation significant financial help to purchase pharmaceuticals has been sent to the local Churches in America, Asia, Africa and Europe,” Cardinal Barragan’s letter stated.

Although the Catholic Church in Africa, because of its opposition to condoms, is often accused of contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS, one researcher emphasizes that the opposite is true.

“The Catholic Church has played a major role in containing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa,” contends Steven W. Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. “Without its message of sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage, the epidemic would have been arguably worse, not only among believers but among the general population.”

Another scientist published findings that confirmed that “the greater the percentage of Catholics in any country, the lower the level of HIV.”

See the full message from the Pontifical Council here:


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