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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Vatican Clips Condom Campaigner from Christmas Concert Lineup

ROME, Italy (AP) -- A Brazilian singer who promoted the use of condoms in an anti-AIDS campaign has been dropped from the lineup of next month's Christmas concert at the Vatican, organizers said Friday.

Daniela Mercury was dropped after Vatican authorities read statements by her in the Brazilian press that went "against the moral doctrine of the church," said Eligio Ermeti, a spokesman for the agency organizing the event.

"Everything was settled, even the songs she was to sing," said Ermeti of the Prime Time Promotions agency. "Then we received a letter from the Jesuits asking us to remove her from the cast."

This year's concert will raise money for the foreign missions of the Jesuit order.


Officials in Brazil rose to the singer's defense.

"The Vatican may not want Daniela Mercury in one of its shows, but we want her to continue her effort and her campaign to fight HIV transmission in our country," said Nilcea Freire, Brazil's minister of state for women's affairs.

"We lament that the Vatican and the pope will not have an opportunity to listen to her," said Pedro Chequer, who heads Brazil's anti-AIDS program. "It's the pope's loss."

Bellucci said the appearance was canceled for fear that Mercury would publicly promote condom use while at the Vatican.

Critics of the Vatican's stance against condoms have long claimed that the policy contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In 2003, U.S. singer Lauryn Hill used her performance at the annual concert to attack priests who abuse children, criticizing the church and its leaders in an unscheduled tirade read before top clergymen attending the event.

Read more.

There's an online poll over at the CNN post of the AP story on this about whether people think the Vatican did the right thing. 77% say no.