God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

17.03.2010 Abuse and no end..

Meanwhile one has to get used as a Catholic priest to justify the pure being in such a profession – where ever I go, the questions of abuse and many more are mounting. And surfing the news on the net – one never can escape a new story. I almost feel that we are living in a time of hysteria. Yes, there have been abuse cases in the past – and yes, there have been many stories of covering up and ignoring the facts and leaving victims in the dark.

But does that really mean that all priests are preying on kids? Or does it mean, as the right wingers in our church claim, that only homosexual priests did do these kind of things? Does it really mean that everybody within the church has now to repeat again and again how awful it was and how wrong? Does it really mean that our pastoral work with kids are at a dead-end because there is a pretty good chance that somebody will read something fundamentally wrong into our doing? Does celibacy really foster the appetite for sex with children?

As much as I feel sorry for the past, I can’t see that this kind of hysteria we are facing in the moment can solve any problem. Emotions are important to let out, but to change a situation we have to reflect in a complete different way.

To do this, our church can assist in doing the following: Don’t cover up any more and learn to deal honest with abuse. As more than 95% of abuse is done within families and the circle of friends, we don’t have to hide with our small numbers – we have to face every single case in a serious way.

Another aspect: We as a church have to stop drawing a connection between homosexuality and the abuse of children – there is no connection and I am aware it is nice to use even this situation to justify certain moral theological aspects of the teaching, but it is wrong. Sciences and research show otherwise, so please no more theological politics with this grave situation. This applies specially for those in the utmost right corner of the church, people, who seems to have no sense of shame to abuse an abuse situation to save their church ideology.

We as a church have to think constructive: How can we restore a trust which enables us to work with children and youth without general suspicion. I guess it will be a long way until this is achieved.

But for all including bishops and clergy applies: no hysteria. I am quite impressed with the approach of Bishop Stephan Ackermann, who seems to understand, that only serious reflection can bring us forward in a positive and beneficial way. And I agree with him, that the discussion of celibacy is not directly connected with the abuse cases. Of course this does not mean that we have within the church also to have a debate about this requirement for priesthood in our days – but for that there is another place and time in the moment.

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HIV, Development and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and social development in Africa has its challenges. You will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa, about politics and whatever triggers my interest. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me. Blogging means to initiate thoughts and discussions and for the writer to formulate what is loosely running around in the heart and mind in need of being sorted and spoken out.

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