Archbishop Silvano Tomasi is the Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N and he gave an address at the Vatican’s recent conference on AIDS.
It’s a lengthy speech entitled, “The Centrality of Care for the Person in the Prevention and Treatment of Illnesses Caused by HIV/AIDS”, which you can read here. In it, he highlights what he has seen over his years in Geneva and New York. His assessment of the situation and its history is both candid and clear:
“Much educational energy and expertise has been focused on the area of preventing the further spread of HIV infection. Many governments, public health authorities, and even some UN agencies, have preferred to promote an incomplete ‘quick fix’ prevention approach that almost exclusively relied on the promotion and distribution of condoms. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, insisted on prevention strategies in conformity with its teaching on the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of marriage, and the need for exercising responsibility in intimate human relationships by observing sexual abstinence outside marriage and mutual and permanent fidelity within marriage.
“This led to false claims that the Catholic hierarchy was an obstacle to effective HIV prevention and even was ‘guilty’ of the AIDS-related deaths of millions of persons. We can be thankful for the courage and the wisdom of experts such as Dr. Edward C. Green who has been able to demonstrate the evidence base that promotion of behaviour change toward more responsible sexual relationships has been much more effective than condom promotion in decreasing new HIV infections.”
Matt Hanley is another professional, along with Dr Green, who has taken the evidence-based approach. Hanley’s report, The Catholic Church and the global AIDS crisis shows the Church’s position, based on the Magisterium, is borne out by the facts. As Hanley writes:
“This crucial distinction between theoretical effectiveness and practical results is generally not well understood, particularly by the Western media. Respected researchers, however, were pointing out as early as the year 2000 that ‘massive increases in condom use worldwide have not translated into demonstrably improved HIV control in the great majority of countries where they have occurred.’”
The Archbishop concluded by reminding his audience that the Catholic Church is a community of faith, hope and love that should place the person at the centre of the global struggle against AIDS. That those people “May have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10: 10)
The Catholic Church and the global AIDS crisis is available from CTS priced £2.50
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