God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Synod on Family: Signs of deep divide or healthy discussion?

It was amazing to see the discussion before, during and after the first part of the Synod on Family: those discussions, interviews, reporting back, misunderstandings when being interviewed and it seems a somehow brutal gloves off discussion is going on for the time being. Reading conservative blogs or so-called Catholic news websites like the German “kath.net” every bit of news is bend up to a point of ideology and bits of events are highlighted and others completely overlooked just to make a point.
The removal of Cardinal Burke from a high-ranking position has fired up the discussion as has the remarks of Cardinal Kasper that one cannot discuss certain topics with African bishops. All this shows that the unity of bishops and the church has been enforced by a structure or hierarchy based on fear and choosing only candidates who would normally never speak up but defend even the not possible to defend as part of the deal. Those times are hopefully gone and the God’s good spirit seems to get more and more room to conquer the hearts and minds of those leading the church. And giving the spirit more room is certainly healthy for a church claiming to be guided by exactly this spirit.
I personally think it is good to see the diversity of thoughts within our church and if it is done right and with respect, a robust and healthy debate can only further our cause as it has done during the Second Vatican Council. The only difference is that in our times, the debates are public and can be followed by millions with each and everybody able to voice his or her own opinion while at the time of the council, it was fought out behind close doors and only the results were published.What is scary is the bitterness of certain so-called conservative circles even talking about a “false” pope or yesterday I even read about a schismatic pope. Here, ideology has taken over religion and a debate is not even possible any more.

Working in the field of HIV and AIDS, seeing the crisis of family and the changes happening in form and perceptions, there has to be a debate if we want to remain relevant in our days. Nobody I see wants to abolish the institution of family, but as always in life, there are many shades of grey in the realities of family life and we have to see the good and beautiful as God is exactly doing the same: Where there is love, commitment, dedication there he is present. And there are many shades of grey in the reality of sexuality and  again let’s see the good and the beautiful as God is exactly doing the same: Where there is love, commitment and dedication, there he is present. Life is getting so complicated, let’s point out all what contributes to life and the diversity of life – God’s plan is certainly not uniformity but a colorful mosaic where every different piece counts to make the whole picture beautiful.

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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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