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Vatican faults use of condoms

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican issued a strong defense yesterday of its controversial position against condoms, saying fidelity, chastity, and abstinence are the best ways to stop the spread of the AIDS virus in a "pan-sexualist society."


A top cardinal issued a five-page statement on World AIDS Day to hammer home the Vatican's position, which has drawn criticism from many quarters.

In a message addressed to Roman Catholics, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, called for new ways of helping people change lifestyles.

"We have to present this as the main way for the effective prevention of infection and spread of HIV/AIDS, since the phenomenon of AIDS is a pathology of the spirit," said Barragan, who is Mexican.

The Roman Catholic Church opposes artificial contraception, including condoms, which it says promote promiscuity.

The message spoke of the "importance of respecting the religious and moral values of sexuality and matrimony, namely fidelity, chastity, and abstinence." Barragan advocated "prevention according to the doctrine of the Church, to practice the virtue of chastity in a pan-sexualist society." He said AIDS campaigns should be based on "sure and authentic human and spiritual values, capable of establishing relevant education in favor of the culture of life and responsible love." In a reference to condoms, he said information campaigns should not be "based on policies that foster immoral and hedonistic lifestyles and behavior."

1,000 volunteers dressed in red stand forming the bow symbol of the campaign against AIDS With the presidential palace of La Moneda at rear, 1,000 volunteers dressed in red stand forming the bow symbol of the campaign against AIDS, marking World AIDS day, in Santiago, Chile. (AP Photo)
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