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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2006, 12:19 GMT
Church head makes Aids cash call
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor says behaviour must be changed
The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales says money used to send condoms to Africa should be spent on drugs for Aids treatment.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said it would be "much better" if the cash was spent on antiretroviral drugs.

He said African bishops had spoken of dioceses being "flooded" with condoms which had led to "more promiscuity".

Tony Blair has said the scale of the Aids problem meant religious leaders needed to end their ban on condoms.

To mark World Aids Day, Mr Blair said religious leaders needed to "face up to reality" and drop bans on condoms to help protect health.

Asked on MTV whether the Vatican's ban on condoms was hampering the fight against Aids and HIV, he said: "I think if all the churches and religious organisations were facing up to reality it would be better."

The way to combat Aids is primarily, as everybody should know, behaviourally - keeping monogamous relationships between a man and a woman
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

But Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor told the BBC's Sunday AM: "I have to say the prime minister is saying 'I am going to give more and more aid, including more condoms into Africa'.

"I think what I would like to say to the prime minister is that it would be much better if he used that money to provide more antiretroviral drugs - medicines - for the millions of children, women who are affected.

"I speak to bishops in Africa and they tell me that their dioceses are flooded with condoms and I said 'Well, has it affected?' They said 'Well, sad to say it has meant more promiscuity and more Aids'.

"You have got to look at this, I think, within the whole context of the African culture."

Monogamy

He went on to say the best way to combat the disease is by having monogamous relationships.

He said: "The way to combat Aids is primarily, as everybody should know, behaviourally - keeping monogamous relationships between a man and a woman."

But he said Pope Benedict XVI had commissioned a report looking into allowing the use of condoms by married couples where one partner is affected by HIV or Aids.

Mr Blair said on Friday that he feared a blanket ban coming from religious leaders would discourage people from using condoms in "certain circumstances where they need to - to protect their own lives".




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