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acceptance of the church of hiv positive people
Jun 22, 1998

If the catholic church knew that a person was HIV postive would they still be an accepted part of the church? I know the Catholic faith discourages things such as sex before marriage and homosexuality. So if the person was to disclose this information that they are HIV positive to the church and it was caused by breaching their faiths beliefs would they be descriminated against or prohibited from going to church?

Thanks for your help

Response from Father DeMartini

Dear Sunflower---The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States have been very clear that people living with HIV/AIDS should never be discriminated against--inside or outside the Church. In 1987 they wrote in "Many Faces of AIDS": "Discrimination or violence directed against persons with AIDS is unjust and immoral". At the same time, I also realize that some individuals or ministers may express judgment or discriminate in responding to someone with HIV/AIDS---I believe that the majority of people in the Church can and will respond with acceptance, understanding and compassion--the Gospel demands no less of us. I know of many parish communities in the US that provide outreach and support to persons living with HIV/AIDS and there are many Church-sponsored agencies providing practical and spiritual support. I hope that these resources are available for you and those with HIV/AIDS you care for. Blessings, Fr. Rod



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