Pope Discusses Hope, AIDS, Economic Crisis en route to Cameroon
(17 Mar 09 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI held a press conference aboard the aircraft taking
him to Cameroon. We have this report.
En route to Cameroon and the first leg
of his Apostolic Voyage to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI spoke with reporters about some
of the most pressing questions and challenges facing the peoples of the continent,
including the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Pope Benedict XVI said the tragedy
of HIV and AIDS is one that cannot be overcome only with money, nor can we defeat
the disease by handing out condoms, a policy the pope said only makes matters worse.
the fight against HIV and AIDS really needs, said Pope Benedict, is a moral and spiritual
renewal based on a proper understanding of human sexuality.
The Holy Father
also called for greater attention to those suffering the ravages of the disease, saying
Christians must bear the anguish together with the afflicted.
In many parts
of Africa, the Catholic Church is the only provider of health services to HIV/AIDS
victims, to their families, and to the widows and orphans of the disease. Another,
related challenge is the ongoing effort to lift many of the continent’s peoples out
of poverty and into conditions of basic human dignity, from which they may finally
begin to realize their enormous human potential.
Continuin his remarks to reporters
en route to Cameroon with him, Pope Benedict called on world leaders not to forget
or to abandon Africa during the present economic crisis.
The global recession,
said Pope Benedict, is the product of an ethical deficit, about which he said he will
speak in his upcoming social encyclical.
The Holy Father confirmed that the
much-awaited social encyclical was in its final stages of preparation when the recession
He said he returned to rework the letter to take the new developments