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Health Care    VATICAN STATES RATIONALE FOR BAN ON SUPERVISED INJECTING ROOMS
The Vatican has issued a decree that no Catholic organisation anywhere in the world should participate in the trial of a legal supervised heroin injecting room, ruling that this would involve cooperation with "grave evil".
    The document implies that Rome also strongly opposes any Catholic involvement in existing harm-minimisation programs such as needle exchanges.
    "The good intention and the hoped-for benefits are not sufficient to outweigh the fact of its constituting an extremely proximate material cooperation in the grave evil of drug abuse and its foreseeable bad side effects," the document says.
    The formal ruling was prepared by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
    The six-page moral evaluation was provided to the Sisters of Charity last week, more than a year after the Vatican's instruction that the sisters must abandon their cooperation with the NSW Government's 18-month trial of the nation's first medically supervised injecting service in Kings Cross.
    According to the ruling, the Vatican is particularly anxious about the potential for scandal should a Catholic organisation involve itself in such drug harm-minimisation programs.
    Sr Annette Cunliffe, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Charity, said she was "pleased to note that there is no disagreement in moral principle" between the sisters and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, although there were "differences in emphasis and a different final conclusion".
   
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25 Sep 00



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