Obama administration decision harms Catholic efforts to treat AIDS, charges priest
July 22, 2010
An American priest who leads an AIDS treatment program in Namibia says that a decision by Obama administration to place greater emphasis on funding governments rather than faith-based organizations will have a devastating effect on the orphans for whom he cares.
PEPFAR-- the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, established by President George W. Bush in 2003 -- “wants to fund the government because they see that as more sustainable,” said Maryknoll Father Richard Bauer, executive director of the Namibian bishops’ Catholic AIDS Action. “Excuse me, but the government of Namibia came into existence only in 1990, whereas the Church has been there for hundreds of years. If you're really interested in sustainability, then fund the Church.”
Father Bauer said PEPFAR staff have told him to expect a funding cut through 2015-- a cut that may reach 20%. “We provide support for over 14,000 orphans, and this cut in funding forces me to ask which child I have to say no to. What are the criteria?”