God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Thoughts, inside, comments of a Catholic priest

The knives are out at home…

It seems the knives are out in the Catholic church especially of my country of birth and in Europe – everybody wants dialogue but it seems that every fraction is fighting seemingly assuming that their position is the right way into a bright future of the RC church. The permission of the “old tridentine mass” as the extraordinary mass and the remarks of the pope regarding the condom use in the book of Mr Seewald – mixed with the abuse cases, the attempt to change the text of the mass to make it more “latin like” – from outside it looks frightening – fulled by irresponsible essays and news of so-called “catholic” websites in German language lacking every inch of the ethos of Catholicism and using a language rather be found in the times of the thirties of the last century in Germany. The just published declaration of theologian in Germany calling for a review of celibacy, women ordination and viri probati shows that since the II Vatican Council, nothing really has moved in these fields – binding our energy for matters which should have been resolved a long time ago.

If we really want to tackle the issues of the people and the faithful of our times, we have to stop fighting but first of all listening to each other. What energy is burned to hold up a certain ideology in our church or a so-called “tradition” – anxiety instead of freedom, attack and defence instead of listening to God’s good spirit.
And obviously this has also consequences for the topic, this blog is reflecting about. How much energy some put in to defend “Humanae Vitae” in a way which simply made it impossible within the church to develop an answer to the question: protection of life. And as Benedict XVI dared to speak his theological mind not saying anything new – for days the newspaper were full of comments and the Vatican had to issue three statements to interpret the interview of the pope in the right light. And now Vatican sources tell us that there is a new word on HIV/AIDS to expect, looking at it from a Christian perspective.  I hover between hope and despair waiting for this new paper.

I really would like to see a stop on all this navel gazing – how we can serve the people and make their life meaningful, that is the only question we should ask ourselves as members of or church, how we can open ourselves up to God’s spirit without always killing the breeze out of anxiety, stubbornness and a picture of God, which in reality is already outdated when we put it together. Then whoever and where ever God is, I believe that he/she is much more than we ever can think of. And for that, I am indeed grateful.

Serving in the field of HIV/AIDS would mean then to look anew at what sexuality constitutes, what sciences are telling us, how we have developed in the last 100 years. And from there to see how we can create a meaningful and responsible context for sexual activities which also matches the realities of us humans. Seeing how many young people world-wide are still dying we also have to reflect more on what life and death means and how we can learn to speak of a meaningful life, even if it is short. We have to put our view of a “successful” life on the test bench. HIV and AIDS has also to do with evolution, with a virus meeting a new host and being not able to co-exist in a way, other bacteria are living with us since ages.  The questions of justice and peace are also still not solved and I am sure the topic HIV and AIDS with all consequences could contribute immensely towards those questions.

So much to do… to reflect … to get down to business …

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

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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