Dissident Catholic group demands Africa, not Sydney, be the site for 2008 World Youth Day

Victoria, Canada, Aug 19, 2005 / 12:00 am (CNA) .- An Australian based “Catholic” AIDS charity, known for their dissent from Church teaching and support of condoms to fight HIV/AIDS, has expressed their disappointment in the choice of Sydney as the host of the 2008 World Youth Day, saying that Africa would be more appropriate.

The Australian AIDS Fund Incorporated, said yesterday that, “Given its global focus on youth, we are strongly of the opinion that the WYD event in 2008 ought to be located in Africa where millions of young people are being mown down and families decimated...by the scourge of HIV/AIDS.”

“That's where we believe”, the group said, “the pope ought to be headed in 2008. We have no doubt that that's where Jesus Himself would have gone. For these reasons we would view the choice of Sydney not as a celebration for Australia…but rather as a massive slap in the face for common sense.”

The group has also called on Pope Benedict to approve the use of condoms to fight the rise of HIV/AIDS--something the Church has expressed unequivocal opposition to.

The Catholic Church teaches that artificial contraception places an unnatural barrier between a man and woman during sex--something which they say, is fundamentally contrary to the dignity of the individuals and the nature of sex itself.

The Church vocally supports abstinence and marital fidelity in the fight against AIDS, but many critics say that the these principles are too demanding.

The Australian AIDS Fund themselves, said that “We…have already distanced ourselves against the existing Vatican stance” which they call “completely indefensible on all grounds.”

Although the pope’s choice of Sydney has not yet been confirmed, Australian Prime Minister John Howard told youth in Cologne, in a videotaped message that Sydney will indeed be the host.

Pope Benedict is expected to confirm the news during the closing Mass for this year’s World Youth Day on Sunday.