UN adviser pleads with pastor to stop blessing condoms

Pastor Paul Sanyangore's service was disrupted when he prayedFacebook

An adviser for the United Nations has asked a Christian pastor to stop anointing condoms because it is "against science".

Last month there was a stampede to the front of the church of Zimbabwe pastor Paul Sanyangore after he blessed a box of condoms.

United Nations Population Fund senior HIV adviser Bidia Deperthes said there is no need to get condoms blessed and said religious leaders should not mislead congregants.

Speaking at the Condomise Campaign tent at the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa, she said: "Please stop praying for the condoms. It misinforms the public and is totally against science."

Pastor Sanyangore, 30, who leads Victory World International Ministries with more than 5000 regular worshippers, said he will not cease anointing condoms, as they are physical entities, and when he prays he is addressing the spiritual side.

"This woman came to a spiritual church and came to me to pray for her condoms. I can only tackle it spiritually," said Sanyangore.

He added: "The church is the best social place to discuss these issues; I am tired of burying people who are dying of Aids. I have buried ten so far, imagine by the time I get to 50. 

"I did not say condoms are not safe, neither did I say they are from the devil. Married people can sit down and decide to use them. Condoms should be used, but if people ask me to pray for them, I will."

Eric Dupont, also of the UN, said condoms were safe to use without being prayed for because they had been subjected to rigorous tests. "Condoms should not be anointed. It sends a very skewered message," he said, according to NewsDay in Zimbabwe.

Sanyangore has claimed in the past to perform healing miracles including resurrections.

Zimbabwe has the fifth highest rate of HIV/Aids IN sub-Saharan Africa.

The Roman Catholic Church continues to preach against the use of condoms, even in areas where HIV is endemic.