The Italian Almanac

Daniela Mercury

Italian News - November 26

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." The priest who was working with the agency, the Rev. Giuseppe Bellucci, confirmed that Mercury's participation had been canceled.

The popular singer participated in a government campaign to fight AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases during this year's carnival celebrations in Brazil. Mercury appeared in TV ads promoting the distribution of millions of free condoms and encouraging people to use them.

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.