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Vatican archbishop says promoting chastity to prevent AIDS defends life

By promoting chastity rather than condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS, Catholic health care workers are being faithful to their call to defend human life, spiritually as well as physically, said a Vatican official.

Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, told reporters the key characteristic of Catholic health care must be "to defend life and never favor death."

But the Christian concept of life and death is not limited to the physical body or life on earth, the archbishop said on Wednesday, introducing the council's annual international conference at the Vatican.

AIDS "is a terrible, horrible pandemic," he said. "And people say, 'You Catholics are killing people because you do not allow use of condoms.' But we say prevention is called chastity, although 'chastity' sounds ridiculous in the society we are living in," the archbishop said. "It is not something we invented; it goes back at least to Moses and the Ten Commandments. It is the only way to protect life."

Catholic News Service

Vatican repeats opposition to using condoms to combat AIDS (Washington Times)
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers
His Grace Javier Lozano Barragán (biographical note, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

8 Nov 2002