(For the record, the red ribbon at right comes to us from the North Portico of the White House.)
Across the globe, estimates report that close to 40 million of our neighbors -- including over 2 million children -- live with HIV/AIDS, and this church's oft-unsung efforts at serving the stricken extend from our own backyard to the farthest reaches of the map.
In that light, over recent years the Magisterium of the Popes has included several appeals for an increase of efforts to halt the pandemic's spread and work toward a cure -- and, most especially, a special plea for the care and human dignity of AIDS patients... here's but a sampling of their interventions:
"The battle against AIDS ought to be everyone's battle. Echoing the voice of the Synod... I too ask pastoral workers to bring to their brothers and sisters affected by AIDS all possible material, moral and spiritual comfort. I urgently ask the world's scientists and political leaders, moved by the love and respect due to every human person, to use every means available in order to put an end to this scourge."
"This coming December 1 marks World AIDS Day. I wish greatly that this occasion promotes an increased responsibility for the care of this illness, together with the pledge of avoiding each instance of discrimination toward the many stricken with it. Calling the comfort of the Lord upon the sick and their families, I encourage the many initiatives that the Church maintains in this area."
"Next 1 December again marks World AIDS Day. I'm spiritually close to the many who suffer from this terrible illness as well as their families, particularly those stricken by the loss of a loved one. Assuring all of my prayers, I likewise wish to exhort all people of good will to multiply their efforts to stop the spread of the HIV virus, to combat the harm which affects so many, and to take on themselves the care of the sick, especially those who are young."
B16's December intentions are as follows:
General: That, faced with the expansion of the culture of violence and death, the Church may courageously promote the culture of life through all her apostolic and missionary activities.PHOTO: Reuters
Mission: That, especially in mission countries, Christians may show through gestures of kindness that the Child born in Bethlehem is the Hope of the world.