Church condemns Geri's visit
from BBC news
Causing a storm: Geri arrives for her visit to the clinic
Church leaders in the Philippines have condemned a visit by former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.
She is carrying out her first
engagement as a United Nations Population Fund goodwill ambassador
- promoting safe
sex and wider use of condoms.
But Catholics say she is setting a bad example for youngsters and have branded her visit immoral.
Bemused stall holders watched
as the former Spice Girl and her entourage arrived at a tiny Marie
planning clinic hidden amongst a back street fruit and vegetable market.
Cameramen trampled across trays
of cabbages and sweet potatoes to get a shot of her, whilst even
the next door
noodle seller climbed onto a narrow tin roof and peered over the edge.
Rapidly growing population
The UN Population Fund has rarely
generated such excitement. But not everyone here is happy to see
Church leaders are strongly against contraception. The head of
the Catholic Church, whose
name is Cardinal Sin, once described condoms as evil and only fit for animals.
And in a country where more than
three-quarters of the population are Catholics, his views
have considerable influence.
The UN says the Philippines has
one of the fastest growing populations in the world and
that a lack of contraceptive advice can lead to diseases such as Aids.
So it decided to make this Halliwell's first official assignment.
As well as urging youngsters
to ignore her safe sex message, churchmen are also upset by her
new video in which
she appears dressed as a nun.
Breast cancer awareness
One described the image as unhealthy,
other people have gone further calling it blasphemous and promising
to pray for
Since leaving the Spice Girls, Halliwell has thrown herself into charity work.
She helped lead a breast cancer
awareness campaign last year, and has said she decided to quit
the group because
she was not able to campaign on the issue. She went through a breast cancer scare when she was 18.
She has also teamed up with
cabinet minister Clare Short to back an initiative to cut the
numbers of women who die