God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

31.07.2009 Why is HIV such a dangerous topic in the church?

While reflecting the last weeks on my way and my work with the German speaking Catholic Community and the HOPE Cape Town project, I once again asked myself, why HIV is such a contaminated topic in our RC church?

It is amazing because on the practical side, my church and the churches generally are doing marvellous work and without their engagement, much more suffering would occur. But as soon as you leave the known path of caring for the sick and the dying, a moral minefield seems to open up and at the end, one either shuts up and keeps silent or one has to face the consequences of jeopardizing ones career. It seems to me, that the topic of sexuality is still one of the most difficult topics to discuss in our church, as the church regards itself as the guardian of moral and good behaviour. And here a pandemic kills people of all ages and is connected with the most intimate part of human life: his or her sexuality.

It would be wrong to say that church has not moved in its views about certain aspects of sexuality in the last centuries, but all the developments in this field were done in slow movements. And there was always a lot of anxiety not to let go the higher moral grounds. Seeing the suffering of people every day, it sometimes is very difficult for me as a priest to reconcile the theory of moral teaching with the realities on the ground.  Sometimes I even ask myself, how one ever can bridge the gap between the two. But on the other hand: Should any teaching of the church not assist people to more life, to more happiness, to more joy, to more fulfillment?

At least what I would wish for is that we are able to discuss without fear all options and possibilities to combat this pandemic in all openness and seriousness. Without being put in one corner or the other – it seems to me, that one can only be a fanatic for or against the famous condom – but there is so much more we have to discuss and explore. A serious debate, that I wish for in the month and years to come, to find ways serving human mankind in the most beneficial and realistic way. And I am looking for a theology of HIV and AIDS, integrating the pandemic and finding ways to turn the stigma of HIV and AIDS into a charisma. Too much asked?

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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