by Vivienne Hewitt in Rome
VATICAN hierarchy is reported to be organising a more pronounced campaign of solidarity for 1989 with victims of Aids. The Pontifical Council on health has already announced that its 1989 annual assembly in Nbvember will be dedicated to the Aids question.
Its president, Bishop Fiorenzo Angelini, said the assembly would focus on "the emergence of Aids from existenital and educational crises and from the lack of a religious and humane sense of life."
But the Church's official viewpoint on the use of contraceptives as a means of Aids prevention does not change. After a visit to Rome's Polyclinic, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reiterated the Pope's own directive that "adherence to the faith was the best prevention."
However speaking to journalists after his visit to the hospital, the cardinal said that church solidarity with Aids victims meant "doing everything possible to help them in a humane way, with love and charity." He also stressed the need for "a new sensibility" to the problem.
Throughout the world, more and more bishops are refusing to condemn contraceptive prevention of Aids outright and the debate is particularly open in France. In a recent television interview, Paris Archbishop, Cardinal Jean Marie I,ustiger suggested that Aids patients could make use of what he called the "systems proposed to them" (Catholic Herald, December 9).