Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

International News
Belgian Archbishop's AIDS Comments Spark National Fury

October 18, 2010

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, head of the Belgian Roman Catholic Church, called a press conference Friday following outrage over remarks he made that AIDS is "sort of inherent justice."

Advertisement

In a recently published book, Leonard said he understood from numerous scientific papers that "AIDS at the beginning multiplied through sexual behavior with all sorts of partners or else through anal rather than vaginal sexual rapports." In the book, a Dutch translation of a 2006 book in French that already caused uproar, he rejects the notion that AIDS is "a punishment from God," instead "this epidemic is sort of intrinsic justice, not at all a punishment."

"All I'm saying is that sometimes there are consequences linked to our actions," said the archbishop. "I believe this is a totally decent, honorable and respectable stance."

Leonard assumed leadership of the Belgian Catholic Church from the Bishop of Bruges, who resigned in April after admitting sexual abuse. Just weeks ago, a church commission revealed nearly 500 cases of abuse by priests since the 1950s, including 13 victims who committed suicide.

At the press conference, Leonard said "HIV carriers merit respect" and "must not suffer discrimination."

HIV activists, gay advocates, and political party operatives quickly denounced Leonard's remarks. "It is unacceptable to say that people who are HIV-positive merited it," said Thierry Martin, head of the anti-AIDS group Prevention SIDA.

Back to other news for October 2010

Excerpted from:
Agence France Presse
10.15.2010




This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:
http://www.thebody.com/content/art58990.html

General Disclaimer: TheBody.com is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through TheBody.com should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.