The sick had a special place in the heart of St. Benedict who writes, “Before all things and above all things care must be taken of the sick, so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person”. The monasteries provided care and service to the sick and the poor and all those in need. This Christian vision of the human person has continued to inspire and guide his followers and many other people down to the present time, to become deeply involved in caring for the sick and the dying through health facilities such as clinics, hospitals and medical schools.
The Catholic Church has also continued to bring material and spiritual help to the poor and the needy, through a great variety of initiatives and projects in the areas of community development and poverty alleviation. At the present time, it is estimated that she cares for about 25 percent of the millions of those infected with HIV/AIDS, and also of those affected in some way by this terrible disease, especially orphans and vulnerable children. What is even more important, she promotes the virtue of chastity as the only way of overcoming HIV/AIDS. This means that if people keep God’s law of abstaining from sex before marriage, and being faithful in marriage, they will never contract the disease through sexual activity.