God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Another mission…

European Union Headquarters - Brussels, Belgium

European Union Headquarters – Brussels, Belgium (Photo credit: Sailing “Footprints: Real to Reel” (Ronn ashore))

After one week in Cape Town sitting in a plane again, this time to Brussels in Belgium. I was offered the opportunity to meet those relevant people in the EU (European Union) dealing with African and South African affairs. It will be a big challenge for me to understand and digest in a couple of days the mechanism of EU-African relationship. But as HOPE Cape Town is a joint venture between European and African people, I strongly believe to see the bigger picture is an important step to understand the synergies behind single projects. And the question of funding is for me in the moment only second best – it is really first to make my homework and understand the principles of political and economic ties and so have a background image for further investigation into EU funding for Africa. I feel like a student again 🙂 and I am very grateful for the organizers to give me this opportunity.

Generally I believe in networking and sharing to reach the goal of ongoing support for those in need – in the case of HOPE Cape Town the need to deal with HIV and AIDS in their mainly anyhow devastated lives of poverty, unemployment, little education and almost no light at the end of the tunnel. South Africa is going through a challenging time with Madiba, the moral conscience of South Africa in his last chapter of life and politicians in place who seem to have subscribed to corruption and attending to everything gaining them wealth but ignoring mostly the plight of the people. That might be a harsh judgement but I strongly believe that South Africa deserves better. Maybe the looming farewell from Nelson Mandela will serve as a reminder about the dreams and hopes after 1994 and ignite the longing and yearning to reach this dream of a real rainbow nation where poverty, corruption, crime, unemployment is seriously tackled by people in power who care deeply about the future of all South Africans.

HOPE Cape Town is working only in one little sector of health within all the areas of human life. But as it needs all mosaic pieces to create the final picture, the organization is willing to contribute whatever is necessary to make the vision of a prosper and thriving South Africa possible. One drop in the big ocean – right so – but let’s join all drops to accumulate into a stream taking us forward.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sic tacuisses: AIDS = Justice – Belgian Catholic Archbishop of Brussels claims

The Catholic Church in Belgium has been battered by scandals and missteps over the past year, and now its new leader, the conservative Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Brussels, has sparked a fresh controversy with comments declaring that people afflicted with AIDS are receiving “a sort of immanent justice” for their sexual practices.
Léonard, who Pope Benedict XVI appointed this year to replace a much-loved liberal, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, compared the suffering of AIDS victims to human-caused degradation of the environment, for which people themselves then pay the price.
“Maybe human love also responds when she is treated badly, without the need of a transcendent source,” Léonard said in a just-published book of interviews he gave to two Belgian journalists over the past few years. “Badly handling physical nature causes it to treat us badly in turn, and badly dealing with the deeper nature of human love will ultimately always lead to catastrophes on all levels.”

The reaction against Léonard’s comments has been swift and sharp.

Belgian parliamentarians have called the archbishop’s statements “disgusting” and “stupid,” and some are calling for the government to re-examine the favorable tax status of the Catholic Church, which receives hefty government subsidies.
Even conservative Christian Democratic party leaders expressed outrage. Léonard’s words “strike me speechless. For Jesus there were no justified illnesses,” said parliamentarian Mia De Schamphelaere, according to a National Catholic Reporter story.
Such official condemnation comes at a difficult time for the Belgian church, which is engaged in a tug-of-war with government investigators who have seized documents in a probe of clergy abuse of children going back decades.
Léonard’s comments are also not winning him or the institutional church many points with Catholics themselves, who are increasingly indifferent to their religion, as is the case in many European countries.
The clergy scandals have shocked Belgians, with revelations of at least 475 victims over the decades, 13 of whom committed suicide. The reports brought down the country’s longest-serving bishop, Roger Vangheluwe, and even tarnished the legacy of Cardinal Danneels, whose negotiations with an abuse victim were surreptitiously recorded and released, portraying him in a harsh light.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, , , , , , , ,

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