.- Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said the Catholic Church is on the front lines in the fight against AIDS. He explained that the Church not only has a health care network of 117,000 centers, but also generates "invisible capital" by recognizing the fundamental dignity of every person.
During a Vatican conference on AIDS prevention organized by the Good Samaritan Foundation, which operates under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Health Care, Cardinal Bertone said the Church "has been deeply committed to this task (of fighting AIDS) from the beginning, and the health care facilities that are in places where the populace is most affected are proof of this."
The conference is being held May 27 and 28 in Rome.
Cardinal Bertone said the "invisible capital" created by the Church consists of policies such as education in overcoming prejudices, encouragement in treating those who are HIV-positive with dignity and respect, and fostering awareness of the contribution "that they can and should make to the family and to society."
"Today, thanks to the experience acquired throughout the years, we understand even better the importance of these aspects not only for the sustaining of those persons who are affected, but also for the preventing of infection and for the effectiveness of treatment itself. This is a dimension that deserves to be broadened, and that is the framework for this conference," the cardinal said.
"The Church," he continued, "aware of all of this, confirms her own efforts in the double and indivisible dimension of the formation of consciences, and the largest offering possible of medical cures accessible to all and of advanced health care facilities, especially in places where the need is greatest."
"We strive to carry out this task with all our strength, together with many men and women of good will who are working throughout the world to achieve the same end," the cardinal said.