He used the all-too-frequent case of a child who knows that his mother was innocent but was infected by a father who had been leading a "bad life." When both die, the bishop explained, the child must try to come to terms with the love he should have for his father and the truth that he has been orphaned because of that father’s misdeeds.
"That wound is the one that is much deeper than a lot of the other wounds that we can speak about," he said.
The Church’s AIDS ministry is concerned with far more than the spread of the disease. It also confronts each person's "deep spiritual and traumatizing wound that can largely be healed by spiritual comfort."
That’s why distributing condoms is no solution. With that approach, he said, "we are depersonalizing the issue."
"Today we are talking about an epidemic that demands sacrifices and this is what people don't want to do, make sacrifices," he said.
Bishop Muheria spoke of the quiet "heroism" of wives who stick by their infected husbands. There is even a form of heroism in an infected spouse's decision to abstain from sexual relations for the good of his or her family.
The Kenyan Church is working to respond to the poor and the sick as Jesus Christ would. "But to reach out is not just to cure,” the bishop added. “Christ didn't cure everyone. First and foremost and most important, you must reach out to the wounds of the heart. They must feel Christ touching them, and that's what the Church does and she has done that and continues to do that in Africa in an amazing way."
He said that people come to him with real problems and they cry together. This is a matter of death, suffering and forgiveness, he said, that cannot be minimized to a material questions.
"Those are very serious problems, and you have to bring them to terms, tell them, you can still be holy, even having HIV and AIDS you can still be a saint."
During his in-flight answer in 2009, the Pope said that efforts should be made to renew the person internally, giving spiritual and human strength to a just behaviors involving the body and to be present, "suffering with those who suffer."
Turning back to the 30,000 orphaned children, Bishop Muheria said, "we have to give hope, but real hope to these kids, a hope that forgives, opens up their heart to a new world. And at the same time, they're able to speak about their experience of encounter with Christ, about the cross that they have had to go through."
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