God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

06.07.2009 Things happen..

How do u got involved with HIV and AIDS? This is one of the usual question, when visitors come to Cape Town and visit the HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, seeing all the work done meanwhile through this organisation. And right, I was not sent by the German Catholic Bishops Conference to work in this field but to serve as the chaplain to the so called German speaking Catholic Community in Cape Town and there was no word in the contract mentioning the suffering of the millions in this country.
Being responsible for an immigration flock, it comes naturally that one tries to see how the community as “guests of the country” can contribute to the well-being of it’s people. So in the beginning I assisted in computer programs, life skills training and here and there a hand-out, but after 2 years into my time, I came across Tygerberg Academic Children’s Hospital and there it happened. Being instrumental to assist in a tele-medicine project of local Rotary clubs, I was asked to assist also in the field of HIV and AIDS. At that time, every third child admitted to hospital was HIV positive. And most died as there has been no medication 1999 available via the national health services.

I was prepared to help and envisaged a small little support structure to help out, not knowing, that this was indeed a turning point in my carrer as a priest and that from that very day on, the topic would accompany me, even brings me in sometimes in conflict with some representatives of the Roman Catholich Church. Why? Because no issue is more dangerous as the one which has to do with death and sex – and in both, religous institutions guard their superiority and touches therefore on the moral teaching of the churches. Caution is advised not to fall into the many traps lying along the way, especially when you are yourself a representative of such an institution. And I am one; indeed, I enjoy to be one and being a priest is for me one of the most attractive professions I can imagine.

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HIV, AIDS and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and AIDS in Africa is often a challenge. Living in Africa has also its challenges. On the other hand I feel very much blessed having all the three. So you will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa and essential information and developments in the field of HIV and AIDS. And in between personal stories and thoughts. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me - blogs - "thinking loud" so to speak is a ways of communication and exchange of ideas.

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