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Vatican protests exclusion from AIDS conference

The Holy See's top official working on health-care issues has protested against the exclusion of Vatican representatives from the 14th world conference on AIDS.

In an interview with the Roman news agency I Media, Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragan pointed out that more than a quarter of all AIDS treatment facilities in the world today are operated under the auspices the Catholic Church. Yet, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care reported, no Vatican official had been invited to participate in this year's "AIDS summit," which has convened under UN leadership in Barcelona this week.

Vatican officials have participated in previous AIDS conferences. "We do not understand why the Vatican was not invited," Archbishop Lozano said.

The archbishop added that since 26% of all AIDS-treatment centers are Catholic facilities, the Church should be recognised as "the most important partner" among UN members in terms of response to AIDS. As such, he added, the Vatican "has a right to have its opinions heard."

Archbishop Lozano also expressed a keen sense of impatience regarding the prevailing approach to AIDS, which emphasises distribution of condoms and instruction on "safe-sex" practices. He remarked that UN officials "have been saying the same thing constantly for the past dozen years," despite the fact that their approach has produced "no visible results".

XIV International AIDS Conference
Cardinal asserts Church's solidarity with AIDS patients (10/7/02)


11 Jul 2002