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Anglican olive branch follows Tutu slur on Catholic condom stance

The Anglican church in South Africa has sought to make peace with the Catholic Church after its former head Archbishop Desmond Tutu used an international AIDS conference in Dublin to speak out against Catholic disapproval of condoms as a way of preventing the spread of AIDS.

He said the idea that promoting condoms causes promiscuity is totally untrue.

The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference's AIDS office said it was "dismayed" at his criticism, and that by focusing on promiscuity, Tutu had failed to note the "wider positive and negative ramifications around the use of condoms".

It said that after the state, the Catholic Church is the largest provider of home-based care for the sick, of palliative care for the dying, and of care and support for AIDS orphans.

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, the success of Archbishop Tutu as head of the Anglican Church in South Africa, said yesterday: "The Anglican Church in Southern African appreciates very warmly the tremendous work being done by the Catholic Church in the fight against HIV and AIDS."

"We, as Anglicans, believe that the morality of condom use is for the preservation of life. However, we must remember that different churches and organisations lay emphasis on different areas in responding to this pandemic."

In 2001 South African Bishop Kevin Dowling stirred debate in the church when he urged that condoms should be promoted as a tool in the fight against AIDS.

Meanwhile in Australia, an AIDS organisation that has previously operated under the auspices of the Catholic Church, claims it has been snubbed by the Catholic Bishops Conference because it publicly criticised what it calls "life threatening Vatican stances on condoms".

The Australian AIDS Fund Incorporated, which continues to claim status as a Catholic organisation, has lost church funding of its Melbourne support services. Its director Brian Haill claimed in a media release yesterday that "some archbishops" are "desperately trying to pretend we don't exist and are using their influence to stifle our voice in the Australian Catholic media".

Mr Haill said the charity has been "snubbed" by the Bishops Conference after the Bishops "turned their back on its appeal for them to have a special gold coin collection taken up on Easter Sunday to help people living with HIV/AIDS, especially those in nearby Papua New Guinea."

Ndungane pours oil on Catholic waters (The Guardian 26/2/04)
Catholic AIDS agency snubbed by church (The Australian AIDS Fund Incorporated 26/2/04)

Tutu Attacks Catholic Ban on Condoms to Combat Aids (The Scotsman 23/2/04)
AIDS Open Letter Appeal to Australia's Catholic Bishops (Australian AIDS Fund Incorporated)
Australian AIDS Fund Incorporated
CRS-led consortium gets $335 million AIDS program grant (Catholic News Service 24/2/04)
HIV/AIDS Memorandum of Understanding (Caritas Internationalis 2/2/04)
Vatican condemns Aids drug firms (BBC 29/1/04)
Expensive Aids drugs mean 'genocide' for poor (The Tablet 7/2/04)
Drug firms accused of genocide (Western Catholic Reporter 9/2/04)
CRS-led consortium gets $335 million AIDS program grant (Catholic News Service 24/2/04)

27 Feb 2004