God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

Honesty and Trust are essential

English: Limburger Dom Limburg an der Lahn Deu...

Limburger Dom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not sure who follows the story of the Roman-Catholic Bishop of Limburg, whose residence building rose from estimates 5.5 million Euro to over 31 million Euro and who is facing at the same time prosecution for a false affidavit. On the background of a humble Pope Francis, those matters are obviously seen more grave than they would have seen before and it is to wait and see how things develop. The bishop is now in Rome and I am sure the press will be eager to find out what is happening as we “speak” or communicate via this blog.
As my bishop Stephan Ackermann pointed out last night on German TV, without trust a bishop can’t work and it seems that this has gone lost in the diocese of Limburg / Germany. And obviously it goes without say that bishops have to stick to the truth, especially when giving an affidavit. Having a prosecution of a bishop for lying was unheard of in Germany till last week.
I think most Catholics and even non Catholics feel that spring has arrived again in our church and that perspectives have changed. And that attitude has to change also for those thinking till now that they are above the laity and ruling in the church, commonly labeled as serving. The church serves the spiritual needs of people, the church is obliged to proclaim the good news and the unconditional love of God and his option for the poor and marginalized in our society. Posh residences of those in charge of serving are contradicting this duty.

Obviously there is a wide span of opinions what the term “modest” living means and I think we have to be very careful not to judge too harshly when others have other opinions on this subject. So I am actually not interested what the heavily discussed price tag for the bathtub of the bishop of Limburg is. What I find utmost disturbing is the fact of non-transparency and as a member of his financial advisory board publicly claimed, that the bishop asked to conceal the real costs of the building for public consumption. I also don’t mind the bishop flying first class – of course it is a matter of discussion whether this is appropriate – what I really mind is when he claims publicly and on video record that he only flew business class when knowing better. If you don’t want to admit to something, then rather be silent.

From a human point of view I feel sorry for him – it is tough to suddenly stand more or less alone in front of the public eye and not being able to conceal the obvious weaknesses of an expensive taste and a very own way to see realities.  But if you chose to accept a very public role with lots of responsibilities in church and society, then one has to know that scrutiny will follow. And media can be unmerciful and not forgiving.

Whatever happens in the next day – lets hope that it brings an end to this rather sad story. Let’s see how Pope Francis handles this case of a bishop losing the trust of his clergy and the faithful.

Filed under: Catholic Church, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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