(RNS) -- Condoms are an "immoral and misguided weapon" in SouthAfrica's battle against the spread of AIDS, according to the SouthernAfrican Catholic Bishops' Conference.

"Condoms may even be one of the main reasons for the spread ofHIV/AIDS," the bishops claimed in a statement issued Monday (July 30) atthe end of a seven-day meeting in Pretoria. "Apart from the possibilityof condoms being faulty or wrongly used, they contribute to the breakingdown of self-control and mutual trust."

The bishops urged young people to abstain from premarital sex and toremain monogamous during marriage.

"Abstain and be faithful is the human and Christian way ofovercoming HIV/AIDS," the bishops said, according to Reuters newsagency.

Earlier this month, a Roman Catholic bishop in South Africa calledfor the church to end its opposition to the use of condoms as a means toend the AIDS plague, according to Agence France Presse. Bishop KevinDowling was supported by the Roman Catholic Church newspaper SouthernCross, which published an editorial that said "the church is called toreconcile its ban on prophylactics with the philosophy of the sanctityof life."