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Pope Benedict
calls for compassion toward people with AIDS

Pope Benedict
calls for compassion toward people with AIDS

Pope Benedict XVI has called for an end to societal prejudice against people living with HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, Reuters U.K. reported Friday.

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

The pope stopped short of addressing the church's official position on HIV/AIDS and condoms, which has yet to be clearly defined. The church opposes all forms of contraception, insisting that abstinence and fidelity within heterosexual marriage are the best ways to stop the AIDS epidemic, a stance that has come under fire in recent years even from Roman Catholic officials. The pope has commissioned a study by two Vatican departments for use in a possible future papal document on AIDS and condoms.

During a conference with African bishops last summer, Pope Benedict maintained that promoting condom use would lead to a "breakdown in sexual morality" and not actually help to end the epidemic. (The Advocate)

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