Wednesday, December 2, 2015

On World AIDS Day, What Message of Good News Do Catholic Leaders Have for People Affected by HIV — After Pope Francis's Trip to Africa?

Yesterday was World AIDS Day. What was the official, unambiguous statement of good news offered by the leaders of the Catholic church to the world on World AIDS Day, regarding an illness that remains epidemic and lethal in particular in the continent of Africa?

The leader of the Catholic church was, in fact, just in that continent, proclaiming the good news the church has to offer to the world in a specific way in Africa. 

Rather than address the question of LGBT rights and the question of the meaning of LGBT lives in a continent in which LGBT human beings are susceptible to exceptionally brutal treatment, the leader of the Catholic church chose to remain totally silent about those human beings and their human lives.

When asked about the use of condoms to combat the spread of HIV infection, the leader of the Catholic church became testy and suggested that there are more significant problems in the world than these matters.

And so I ask again: on World AIDS Day, what did the leaders of the Catholic church do to offer good news to the world and to those living with or affected by the HIV epidemic? What could they do to offer good news to the world, given the response of the chief pastoral leader of the Catholic church to LGBT human beings and the HIV epidemic when he was on the ground in Africa?

Or to rephrase my question: when did silence ever become good news, on the part of pastoral leaders of a Christian church? When is silence in the face of suffering and death ever the proclamation of good news to anyone at all, on the part of Christian pastoral leaders?

In what precise way is the proclamation of the gospel by Catholic Christianity today to LGBT human beings or people who love LGBT human beings good news? 

Surely lay Catholics and journals published by lay Catholics have a serious obligation to ask themselves such questions, if they care about the effectiveness and integrity of their church's proclamation of the gospel of Christ to the world.

The map of global HIV infection in adults aged 15-49 in 2013 is from the website of the World Health Organization.

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