The Catholic Church needs to rethink its vision on spread of HIV/AIDS

Historically the Catholic Church tries to defend its spiritual dogmas from attacks from the scientific community. The official position in regard to condoms, for example, remains close to the limiting vision that sees its use of an insult to life and human nature. It’s not possible to run away from the reality. The use of condoms is indispensable to avoid spreading of sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancies.

The position of the Vatican is ideologically oriented even with regard to policies of harm reduction and needle exchanges for heroin addicts.
Sharing infected needles remains one of the principle causes of transmission of the virus. We must understand the different alternatives to reduce the number of infections. It’s important to base efforts on reality and scientific evidence and projects like needle exchanges or promotion of condom use shows us that it’s possible to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. But if an institution such as the Catholic Church, with a large degree political and social power, ideologically opposes such harm reduction measures, this could be dangerous for peoples health.

Recently two theologians, James Keenan and Enda McDonagh, argued that Catholic Church must rethink official vision in combating the spread of virus. The document has been publicized by Progressus, a catholic organization for helping poor people. Underlining the necessity to modify the dogmatic and rigid position of the Church they are opening spaces for a new and rational debate. It is unethical that the Church continues to face this disease through prejudices and outdated ideologies.

In this way the beliefs of the Catholic Church impede not only the spread of harm reduction measures in order to limit the infections, but even the development of a collective sensibility often shown in front of other disasters. The two theologians reported as an example the tsunami of 2004, when the entire world sent help to affected people. By placing value judgments in the face of a global disease, the collective vision is influenced and fragmented, especially if these are expressed by people with a high moral, religious and political power.

The Catholic Church needs to rethink its view in order to combat the spread of the virus in a humanitarian and scientific way. This is not in name of a Catholicism far from common good, but in name of a Christianity inspired only by human and rational values.

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