Pope prays for AIDS victims
Pope John Paul II has marked today's World AIDS Day by offering prayers to those who suffer from the disease and encouraging those in the Church who care for them to continue their efforts.
During his Sunday Angelus greeting in St Peter's Square, he expressed concern about the spread of AIDS, particularly in poor countries.
"While I pray for those who are hit by this scourge, I encourage those in the church who carry out an invaluable service of acceptance, care and spiritual accompaniment to our brothers and sisters," he added.
His comments came amid renewed criticism of Vatican opposition to using condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Last month, the UN World Health Organisation branded comments by head of the Pontifical Council for the Family Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo as dangerous and "totally wrong".
Trujillo had suggested that condoms did not sufficiently protect against AIDS, saying the HIV virus was small enough to pass through them.
Pope prays for AIDS victims (1/12/03)
Catholic Group Challenges Vatican's 'Condoms Spread Aids' Claim (The Scotsman 30/11/03)
Catholics resist condoms (The Age/Reuters 29/11/03)
Pamela Bone: In the fight against AIDS, Catholics can only be ashamed (The Age 1/12/03)
Vatican claims slammed (Sky News London 30/11/03)
Catholic Church leads world AIDS efforts, prelate reports (Catholic World News 28/11/03)
Courts Will Examine Contraceptive Laws (AP/Newsday 30/11/03)
Where we are now (The Guardian)
The Vatican's condom challenge (BBC 25/11/03)
OzSpirit: Global Debt and AIDS
World AIDS Day
African Jesuit AIDS Network
National Catholic AIDS Network
31 Dec 2003