Cultural genocide is the destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group. States that engage in cultural genocide set out to destroy the political and social institutions of the targeted group. Land is seized, and populations are forcibly transferred and their movement is restricted. Spiritual leaders are persecuted, spiritual practices are forbidden, and objects of spiritual value are confiscated and destroyed.
As a contribution to the nation's response to this complex disease and its devastating consequences, we wish to help turn ignorance into understanding and understanding into action. We, the Catholic bishops of the United States, approach this task from the perspectives of faith and reason: We address this statement to the Catholic community and to all people of goodwill.
It is our hope that these reflections will stimulate discussion and foster understanding of the ethical and spiritual dimensions of the HIV crisis. Public discussion concerning HIV has intensified in the last two years, and new facts, fears, and initiatives have emerged. The AIDS crisis has worsened.
The need for compassion has grown more urgent. Also, we are mindful of the Report of the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, 5 which calls upon religious groups to be of "special assistance," especially by emphasizing "the worth and dignity of every human being.
AIDS is an illness to which all must respond in a manner consistent with the best medical and scientific information available. As members of the Church and society, we must reach out with compassion to those exposed to or experiencing this disease and must stand in solidarity with them and their families.
As bishops, we must offer a clear presentation of Catholic moral teaching concerning human intimacy and sexuality. Social realities like poverty and oppression and psychological factors like loneliness and alienation can strongly influence people's decisions to behave in ways which expose them to the AIDS virus.
Along with other groups in society, the Church must work to eliminate the harsh realities of poverty and despair. The expression of human sexuality should resemble God's love in being loving, faithful, and committed. Human sexuality in marriage is intrinsically oriented to permanent commitment, love, and openness to new life.
The spread of AIDS will not be halted unless people live in accord with authentic human values pertaining to personhood and sexuality. Since AIDS can be transmitted through intravenous drug use, there is need for drug treatment programs, a halt to traffic in illicit drugs, and efforts to eliminate the causes of addiction.
Considering the widespread ignorance and misunderstanding about HIV infection and its modes of transmission, educational programs about the medical aspects of the disease and legitimate ways of preventing it are also needed. The Church's Concern As we enter more deeply into the public dialogue regarding HIV infection, we are conscious of the social responsibility of the Church.
In doing so the Church fulfills her mission to evangelize. The teaching and spreading of her social doctrine are part of the Church's evangelizing mission. And since it is doctrine aimed at guiding people's behavior, it consequently gives rise to a commitment of justice, according to each individual's role, vocation and circumstances.
The problem is not confined to the United States and cannot be solved only here. We are deeply conscious of the devastation this terrible disease is bringing to many other parts of the world.
The United States must play a significant role in responding to the worldwide dimension of the disease. The Church enters into this conversation in the conviction that "faith throws a new light on everything, manifests God's design for man's total vocation, and thus directs the mind to solutions which are fully human" Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, n.
The Report of the Presidential Commission states: The steps include providing care for children with AIDS, opening and maintaining hospices for persons with AIDS, maintaining facilities for homeless people, providing pastoral and health care through Catholic health facilities, implementing HIV education programs, and publishing documents that address the issue of HIV infection and its prevention.
The medical community has developed therapies that extend the lives of people with HIV infection while enhancing their quality. New discoveries raise hopes for the eventual cure or prevention of the disease.
The federal government has adopted a more realistic approach to this health crisis. The twelve chapters of the Report of the Presidential AIDS Commission contain important recommendations requiring close study and response. Many, though not all, persons with AIDS have many of the following characteristics: Self-abusive behavior through drug abuse and sexual promiscuity continues in this country.
Lack of education about HIV in large segments of the society fosters continued misunderstanding about the epidemic. For example, confusion about how the infection is transmitted generates some unwarranted fear and undue alarm. Technology often outpaces ethical reflection; the study of ethics is widely neglected in school curricula.
People infected with HIV or at risk of infection may not be aware of their situation; others shirk their basic moral obligation to refrain from behavior that can do grave harm to others.Your source for local news, sports, high school sports and weather in and around Jefferson City, Columbia, Fulton and the Lake of the Ozarks.
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