14: AIDS: A Challenge and Commitment for Everybody


The Church faces a significant pastoral issue in AIDS, a growing reality of our time. This human disease must be answered in a consistent manner, with the best medical and scientific information available.

As members of the Church and society we have the responsibility to share AIDS victims' pain in solidarity, providing them spiritual and pastoral care, as well as social support for their families and friends. Cardinal Bernardin asserts that the Church does not approve practices of “safe sex” or the use of condoms. Catholic programs must communicate the Church's vision of human sexuality and behavior as well as its doctrinal and moral tradition.

As a community of faith we are called to confront courageously and compassionately the suffering and death which AIDS has brought to the world. Cardinal Bernardin emphasizes that AIDS is not a disease restricted to homosexuals. Many people have been otherwise infected.

The entire civic and religious community must collaborate in its battle against AIDS. Catholics cannot permit the discrimination against AIDS victims and must face the scourge of AIDS as a challenge that needs Christian solutions. Such a discrimination clearly violates basic human dignity and it is inconsistent with a Christian ethic of life.

With the increase of AIDS cases in our society, we must call upon civic, governmental, religious, and community leaders to respond to the human and religious needs at hand. The Archbishop of Chicago has supported the development of an Interfaith Pastoral Counseling Center for AIDS victims, while the Archdiocese Department of Personnel Services has developed a general employment policy for all those with life-threatening illnesses. The Department of Human Services also coordinates initiatives in the AIDS ministry.