» 11/30/2005 14:43 VATICAN - WORLD AIDS DAY Pope: "I feel near to people with AIDS and their families"
Benedict XVI encouraged those fighting against AIDS and made an appeal to the international and church communities for World AIDS Day. The Pope also recalled the Shoah, "an indelible disgrace in the history of mankind".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) Benedict XVI made an appeal for people with AIDS in anticipation of World AIDS Day set to be marked tomorrow. The Pope encouraged all those fighting to overcome the terrible virus, saying he is near to those who suffer from it and to their families. He also exhorted the international and church communities to show solidarity. "Tomorrow, 1 December, is World AIDS Day, an initiative of the United Nations aiming to draw attention to the scourge of AIDS and to invite the international community to a renewed commitment in the work of prevention and support for those who are affected. Relevant statistics are alarming!" he said at the end of the general audience.
"Following Christ's example closely, the Church has always considered the care of infirm people to be an integral part of its mission. I therefore encourage the many initiatives under way to overcome this sickness, especially by church communities, and I feel close to people with AIDS and their families, invoking upon them the Lord's help and comfort."
In his address to around 25,000 people who turned up for the audience in St Peter's Square despite the grey and rainy weather, Benedict XVI talked about Shoah, "an indelible disgrace in the history of mankind". And thus Benedict XVI referred again after the strong words he used in the synagogue in Cologne to the extermination of the Jews, commenting on Psalm 136, "By the rivers of Babylon", which "has as its background the land of exile, with its rivers and canals, the very same which irrigated the Babylonian plains, where the deported Jews were". He added: "This is almost a symbolic foresight of the extermination camps where the Jewish people in the century we have just left behind were sent in an infamous operation of death, which remains as an indelible disgrace in the history of mankind."