What Does the Church Say?

The Church, in fact, has spoken clearly and powerfully about HIV/AIDS. Based on the Bible and on the Church’s long tradition and especially on the life of Jesus, the Church’s teachings have stressed (1) the value and dignity of every person, (2) the rights and responsibilities of society, and (3) the love and compassion of God.

Human Dignity:

The message is clear: every human being is created in God’s image, redeemed by Jesus, and called to everlasting life. Accordingly, all persons have worth and dignity, rooted simply in who they are (and not in what they do or achieve). This conviction about the preciousness of every life grounds the Church’s teachings about HIV/AIDS.

“People living with HIV/AIDS face discrimination which is dehumanizing and suffering which strips the person’s sense of worth and dignity. Of course, this worth also needs to be cherished and protected by all of us, by individuals and organizations, especially the Church. All forms of discrimination are wrong, whether in housing, jobs, insurance, health care, or religion.” ~ Kenneth R. Overberg, S.J

Solidarity:

“As members of the Church and society, we have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with and reach out with compassion and understanding to those exposed to or experiencing this disease. We must provide spiritual and pastoral care as well as medical and social services for them and support for their families and friends.” ~ The Many Faces of AIDS – A Gospel Response

Grace:

“While preaching a Gospel of compassion and conversion, Jesus also proclaimed to those most in need the Good News of forgiveness. The father in the parable of the prodigal son did not wait for his son to come to him. Rather, he took the initiative and ran out to his son with generosity, forgiveness, and compassion.” ~ The Many Faces of AIDS – A Gospel Response

The various Church statements about HIV/AIDS always affirm the love and compassion of God. Jesus has revealed a God who loves each of us unconditionally, a God who forgives our sinful actions. God is not vengeful. God respects human freedom, calling us to love and responsibility, but not interfering even with destructive choices.

HIV/AIDS IS A HUMAN ILLNESS; NOT A PUNISHMENT FROM GOD.

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