|Interview With President of Health Care Council
VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB. 2005 (ZENIT)
Regarding the recent media debate
concerning the Church and AIDS, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán says
that the central message of the Church goes much deeper than whether or
not condoms are to be used.
In this interview with ZENIT, the president of the Pontifical Council
for Health Care Workers articulates
from the fullness of its perspective
the Church's pastoral proposal to prevent and combat AIDS.
Q: There is the impression in the media that the only message the Church
can give today is whether or not condoms may be used. Is this so?
Cardinal Lozano: Let's expand the topic. We, especially in this
Pontifical council, have the obligation to combat AIDS, because the Pope
appointed us to address the emerging sicknesses pastorally. The question
we face is how can we, from this dicastery, address the pastoral care of
The answer is with the Commandments. In particular, this challenge
affects two specific Commandments: one is the fifth, "Thou shalt not
kill," which is an unfolding of the first two: to love God and to love
one's neighbor. The other is the sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not
By the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" we are obliged not to kill
anyone but at the same time, not to let ourselves be killed, that is, to
protect our life. So much so, that it is a traditional doctrine of the
Church, which has never changed, that to defend one's own innocent life,
one can even kill an aggressor. If the aggressor has the Ebola virus,
flu, or AIDS and wants to kill me, I must defend myself. If he wants to
kill me with AIDS, I must defend myself from AIDS. How do I defend
myself? With the most appropriate means. I must decide. If it is a club,
with a club. If it is a pistol, with a pistol. And with a condom? Yes,
if it is effective in defending me, in this case of unjust aggression.
Q: What do you suggest for the prevention of AIDS?
Cardinal Lozano: We must see what ways there are to contract AIDS. There
are three: blood, maternal-filial transmission and sex.
In regard to blood, we say: "Be careful with transfusions! Be careful
with drug needles!"
In regard to maternal-filial transmission, we say: "Mothers, be careful
about transmission to the children!" Thank God there are already very
effective pills. "Be careful with the birth itself! Be careful when it
comes to nursing the children, as it can be very dangerous!"
In the third place is sex, for which the remedy is abstinence and
faithfulness. Why? Because the Sixth Commandment is the most sublime
expression of love that God has given us. And it means vital love and
life is total giving. Which means that sex between man and woman exacts
that nothing is left over for a third.
Therefore, to really live out one's sexuality, one must do so only in a
marriage that is one and permanent for life. To defend the preciousness
of sex, God gave an absolute Commandment, enunciated in a negative way:
"Thou shalt not commit adultery." He did not say, "Do not have sexual
relations." Sexual relations are precisely the greatest expression of
human love, which is fulfilled in marriage. Celibacy is still greater,
but it is about divine love.
By keeping these two Commandments
shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not commit adultery," life is protected.
How do we defend ourselves from AIDS? By protecting life, in its sexual
excellence and from its vicious aggression. If we are opposed to its
vicious aggression, if we don't break that finest of crystals that is
sex, we do not get AIDS.
Q: So the Church does not give recipes, but proclaims the Ten
Cardinal Lozano: Let us be clear that in that sense, we are talking
about the essence of Christianity, as it is about loving God above all
things, and one's neighbor as oneself. What matters is abstinence,
faithfulness and "Thou shalt not kill."