.- The Permanent Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile is demanding local authorities respect the freedom of all and not reduce the fight against AIDS to the distribution of condoms.
The bishops’ statement is in response to a new AIDS prevention campaign being sponsored by the government. "The current campaign by the Ministry of Health, instead of addressing the cause of the problem, simply seeks to avoid its effects, recommending techniques and preventative methods that presuppose a permissive attitude towards the cause of the problem, namely, sexual relations devoid of mature and committed love in marriage and family life," the statement indicates.
The bishops note that the campaign "ignores fundamental ethical considerations, because it separates sexuality from its procreative dimension, overlooks self-control and reduces the solution to the problem to an exclusive formula-the condom-thus attacking freedom. In this sense, to exclude other means of avoiding the disease is a negative step backwards. The freedom of choices is only legitimate when it seeks what is good, when it is just and respectful of human dignity."
According to the bishops, "The root problem is the formation of persons in love, through an urgent education that is integral and humane, that presents sexuality in its profound dignity." "If we want a society that is truly healthy, let us treat human beings as persons. If not, we impoverish the human condition, whose deepest dignity is in being in the image and likeness of God," they added.
The bishops also called it "sorrowful" that the campaign is coinciding with the celebration of "the canonization of Father Alberto Hurtado, a generous servant of human life and an authentic educator of young people."
"Public institutions have the duty to help people to live a healthy and dignified life," the bishops maintained. "We must value the beauty of faithful and mature sexuality and recognize its capacity to form a family and welcome children who are the fruit of love. It must be clearly said that unrestrained sex offends human dignity, lays the groundwork for failed marriages, and leads to a decadent society."
The bishops call on Chileans values that uphold the dignity of the human person, especially of women, who must not be treated as "objects of pleasure."