|Pope Benedict XVI in Benin|
Unlike his last visit to Africa in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI has this time steered clear of the word, which caused all the controversy last time. That word was of course “condom”. Pope Benedict XVI did not of course avoid the subject of HIV/AIDS. How could he during a visit to Africa? What the Pope did say on the matter was:
“The problem of AIDs, in particular, clearly calls for a medical and pharmaceutical response. This is not enough, however: the problem goes deeper. Above all, it is an ethical problem. The change of behaviour that it requires – for example, sexual abstinence, rejection of sexual promiscuity, fidelity within marriage – ultimately involves the question of integral development, which demands a global approach and a global response from the church. For if it is to be effective, the prevention of AIDS must be based on a sex education that is itself grounded in an anthropology anchored in the natural law and enlightened by the word of God and the church’s teaching.”[i]
The secular media has of course not made much of this. Why would they? We live in a world where the only acceptable solution to any challenge is considered the instant solution. A call to exercise any degree of self-control is considered absurd, out dated and a preposterous suggestion. How sad have we become?
In the second reading of Matins for today, the Solemnity of Christ the King, we read: “So if we want God to reign within us, on no account may sin rule in our mortal body but let us mortify our earthly bodies”.[ii] Is it not time to again begin seriously considering the degree of self-control that we actually exert over our bodies? How well are we using the gift of free will that God has given to us? Forget HIV/AIDS! That is the least of our problems!
Consider whether we are ready for that inevitable moment in our lives, death, when we will come face to face with God and have to present an account of our lives? Are we focussed completely on being prepared for that moment? It takes just one mortal sin to separate us from God forever!