Defend Hope

Pope Benedict expresses concern over spread of AIDS, trafficking of women and children

.- Earlier today, Pope Benedict issued a “fresh call” to public officials calling on them to help restore the hope of people around the world through education in moral and human values and resorting to dialogue instead of violence to solve disputes. The Pope went on to raise particular areas where hope is threatened in the diplomats’ respective countries.

The Holy Father made his remarks to new ambassadors arriving at the Vatican from Thailand, Namibia, Singapore, Kuwait, Seychelles, Gambia and Suriname.

In his written remarks to the Thai ambassador, the Pope expresses his concern over "the scourge of AIDS, prostitution and the trafficking of women and children which continue to afflict the countries of the region."

The cause of these afflictions is, according to the Holy Father, "the decline in moral values, fueled by the trivialization of sexuality in the media and entertainment industries, [which] leads to the degradation of women and even the abuse of children.”

Given “the complexity of this unspeakable human exploitation”, the Pope said that “a concerted international response" is necessary.

On a related note, Benedict XVI told the ambassador from Namibia, Africa that the Church’s teaching on marriage as “the total, reciprocal and exclusive communion of love between a man and a woman,” is a sure way to promote behaviors that effectively prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Another obstacle to hope addressed by Benedict, was the suppression of “the universal rights to life and to religious freedom.” The pontiff praised Singapore’s “commitment to initiatives aimed at promoting dialogue, respect and cooperation between different religious groups, of particular importance in view of the diverse ethnic and religious affiliation of your population."

Kuwait also serves as a model for overcoming violence with dialogue according to the Pope. “[Y]our country, which has overcome the devastating effects of violence and war, continues to play an important role in the delicate process of reconciliation which offers the only sure hope for a resolution of the many complex problems affecting the Middle East", the Holy Father said.


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