“Aids cannot be overcome with advertising slogans”

The Vatican press office on Wednesday released a verbatim transcript of remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI. during his flight to Cameroon. The Catholic News.-Agency (KNA) documents the question posed by the French television journalist Philippe Visseyrias (France 2) and the much-discussed sentences of the Pope on the AIDS problem in its own translation from Italian. The punctuation is that of the Vatican press office.

Question: Holiness, among the many evils that afflict Africa, the spread of AIDS stands out. The attitude of the Catholic Church on the way to fight it is often considered unrealistic and ineffective. Will you address this ie during the trip?
Pope Benedict XVI.: I would like to say the opposite: I believe that the most effective and present organization in the fight against AIDS is precisely the Catholic Church, with its movements and its different structures. I think of the Community of Sant' Egidio, which does so much in the fight against AIDS, both visible and hidden, I think of the Camillians and all the religious sisters who serve the sick (…) I would say that the problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans alone. If the soul is missing, if Africans do not help themselves, this hostage cannot be eliminated with the distribution of condoms: On the contrary, there is a risk of increasing the problem. The solution can only be found with a twofold commitment: The first is a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual and human renewal that brings a new way of dealing with each other. And the second a true friendship also and above all with those who suffer, the willingness to be with them, even with sacrifices and personal renunciation. These are the factors that help and that also lead to visible progress. Therefore, I would say, it is this double effort of ours, to renew man inwardly, to give him spiritual and human strength for a behavior that does justice to one's own body and that of others, and this ability to suffer with those who suffer, to remain there in the trials of life. It seems to me that this is the right response and that the Church is doing this, making a very great and important contribution. Let us thank all those who do this.

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