Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies


Theology & Religious Studies


Dr. Victor Carmona


In 1989 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released Called to Compassion and Responsibility. This document, which articulates the official Catholic Church teaching on HIV/AIDS, emphasizes personal responsibility in limiting the spread of HIV and calls for compassion toward the sick. The bishops direct their document to Catholic clergy and parishioners and offer recommendations for government policy and parish actions that affirm human dignity. This thesis argues that the document's recommendations do not adequately consider the experiences of immigrants and refugees with HIV/AIDS and neglect sufficient attention to their lived experiences. In future documents, the bishops should use the lived experiences of immigrants and refugees with HIV/AIDS to create recommendations that more effectively nurture compassionate government policies and parish responses. The main reason this is the case is that compassion demands intimacy in each other's lives. In that light, this thesis critiques government policies that fail to reflect the compassionate response that the lived experiences of immigrants and refugees with HIV/AIDS call for. Likewise, it provides recommendations for parish actions that more fully embody God's compassion, inviting us into the intimacy of relationship with immigrants and refugees who live with HIV/AIDS today.