God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

13.12.2009 25 years of Tafelsig Parish

In half an hour I will got to attend the luncheon, given on the occasion of 25 years of the Catholic parish Tafelsig in Cape Town. A friend of mine is parish priest for this community and it is with pleasure that I will go and mingle with the people there. 25 years is not a long time – and one has to realise, that being a “Catholic” in South Africa is until today rather something suspicious. Invitation, where I am invited with wife show the grade of knowledge about Catholicism and from the “good old times” it was known, that Catholics are subversive: during the apartheid times it was mainly the Catholic church siding with the black communities; a lot of priests were driven out of the country. Only after the end of apartheid the Catholic church really starts to be much more visible. I remember the year 1998 where my application for permanent residence was put on hold. I had to appear in front of a committee, at that time in the Western Cape rather a “white affair, and the only question I had to answer was about my relationship with the Vatican. Amazing experience- you could still sense the anxiety of the apartheid system about possible Vatican spies on the wrong side of the battle of minds and for the security of a “white country”.
I think one can compare this a bit with the situation in the occupied territories of the Westbank and the Gaza Strip, where the state Israel also does everything to make it difficult for Catholic priests and social workers to do their bit to ease the situation.

Also at Tygerberg Hospital during the opening of the HOPE Cape Town project and the Ithemba Ward once again it showed that Catholicism was not “normal” in Afrikaans circles. According to some from the hospital, it was the first time in 2001, that a Catholic priest was doing the official blessing – in this case together with a Rabbi and an Imam.
And HOPE Cape Town remains a brainchild of a Catholic priest and the Chairperson of the German-speaking Catholic Community at that time – even when the organisation is since then working together with all denominations, religions and society groups.

So in celebrating 25 years of the Catholic parish in Tafelsig all this comes to my mind – and I am pleased to say, that the vast majority of work in the fields of HIV and AIDS is done by the Catholic church or initiated by our church.  A lot is said about the Catholic Church in these days, and not always that positive; therefore it is good to remind ourselves of all the good things the church is doing, most times through the people working at grass root level. Let’s celebrate these people also in Tafelsig.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , ,

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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