Brazilian bishops say students need education and not condoms to fight AIDS

The Bishops Conference of Brazil has published a clear statement asking the country’s Ministers of Health and of Education to end a campaign to make condoms available in schools, proposing instead comprehensive education for young people in order to stop the spread of AIDS.

The “dirty war” of certain homosexual groups against the Church has not stopped the bishops from speaking out. Signed by the president of the Bishops Conference, Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, the text points out that condoms have not been proven to be 100% effective in preventing the contraction of AIDS.

The Bishops conference spelled out the urgency of creating a sexual education program that does not trivialize sexuality and that promotes “the living of one’s sexuality as one of the ways of expressing love,…which demands affectivity, self-donation, responsibility and fidelity.”

Likewise the Bishops demand that the role of parents in sexual education be respected, as “the family is the natural place for passing on values, for promoting the dignity of men and women and the true meaning of loving and sexual relationships” within the context of marriage.

In this sense, the Conference supports efforts to foster, especially in young people, “a healthy style of life, behavior governed by Christian and human values, instead of the mere distribution of condoms.”

The Bishops also point out that the Church in Brazil works for the prevention of AIDS and attends to those who are HIV-positive.  The Church “welcomes and is close to those who are infected with this virus and defends their right to free medical care.”

They add that the Church “also works to prevent the spread of the disease by fostering Gospel values and being a presence of mercy and promoting life as the highest good.”

The Bishops say that the work to prevent AIDS should emphasize dignity and value of life, health and sexuality. 

The Bishops’ message came after a heated statement from the Minister of Health which accused the Church of “committing another crime against humanity” for “insisting that condoms do not protect” against the AIDS virus. 

The Ministry of Health statement came in response to the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro’s denouncing of a television spot that was to air nationwide and that blamed the Church for the spread of AIDS.  The five-minute long infomercial was shown on only one television program as part of the campaign “Condoms are not sinful,” produced by various pro-homosexual and “safe-sex” groups.

The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro was successful in preventing the spot from being widely shown and asked the government to investigate whether or not organizations that work for AIDS prevention are informing the public “about the risks of infection and the defects in the methods of prevention that are being used.”

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