Chastity and Faithfulness: Sure Ways to Avoid AIDS

Bishop Sgreccia Says Condoms Don’t Ensure Immunity

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 17, 2005 ( The sure strategy to prevent the spread of AIDS is based on chastity and faithfulness, which Catholics live within marriage, says the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia disagreed with the idea of using condoms as a means of prevention since, among other things, they do not guarantee immunity from infection.

The prelate addressed the argument today at a press conference on the academy’s Feb. 21-23 assembly.

Bishop Sgreccia explained that to guide the conscience of the faithful on this matter, the Church reminds them of two precepts: «conjugal love, namely, sexuality oriented to marriage, which implies that all acts that take place outside the sacramental context cannot be worthy; and the protection of life.»

«In a word, one must take into account both the Sixth as well as the Fifth Commandments,» he stressed.

«The natural view of the use of sexuality within marriage, which implies respect for the principles of chastity and fidelity is, in the opinion of all, the way to prevent the spread of AIDS and, as such, should be stimulated, approved and encouraged,» he added.

In regard to the condom, Bishop Sgreccia asked journalists: «But, are we really sure that it immunizes against infection?»

«Research carried out says no,» he said. «Therefore, in the face of the risk of infecting a person, even if using a technical element that might turn out to be insufficient, the morality of the Church continues to prefer chastity and faithfulness.»

As a confirmation of the Church’s proposal, Bishop Sgreccia mentioned an article published in the journal Science on Uganda’s experience.

«That country has opted for the strategy of education and behavior based on conjugal chastity and faithfulness,» he noted. «This has resulted in a decrease in the rate of infections.»

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