God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Leaving Rio de Janeiro

Wow, what for a city and after Salvador da Bahia and other Brazilian places one gets really in the mood of Samba and a seemingly easy lifestyle. The visit in the first favela settlement on the mountain of “providencia” in Rio reminded us going into the “slum” that life conditions can be harsh. Like everywhere broken promises of politicians, false or disappointed hopes of a better life and an unbelievable strong sense for religion partnering the life of those at the margins of society. And amazing for me as a priest the combination of old African religion and Christianity – syncretism in the highest form but seemingly tolerated in society or at least ignored by those preaching the gospel in various official churches as we know them around the world. A real rainbow nation and if South Africa can learn from Brazil as a BRICS country then it is to live and let live the different cultures and traditions in a way worth a rainbow nation. And on the HIV/AIDS front Brazil learned quick that antiretrovirals are the better option than the African potato and that a network of care and the production and service delivery for all affected and infected including proper medication is a must. Of course, there are also similarities – time management, improvisation on the highest level with often a good result, crime in various cities, corruption on all levels of society, a brutal gap between rich and poor – there is room for joined ventures which would benefit both countries. For me the visit was a real enrichment – the various encounters will stay with me and I know already that this will not be the last visit in this huge country. Travelling the world means to learn a lot – but often there is nobody home who wants to listen to what one has experienced. We are all to busy with our own affairs. How much do I wish that all would have the opportunity to see what I have seen alone in the last 7 days. But that remains a dream – but with social media like Facebook and others one can at least share a glimpse of the colourful reality of the world around us and take this as a starting point for more attentive discussion how other countries manage their affairs and how we in South Africa can benefit from it.

Filed under: General, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Visiting Brazil

Visiting Brazil for the first time, I also learn and read about the HIV/ AIDS situation and as the country is praised as a model for its involvement and fight against the disease by rendering good services for those infected and affected, I would like to share some links for more information about this BRICS country

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Brazil

http://www.avert.org/hiv-aids-brazil.htm

http://portfolio.theglobalfund.org/en/Country/Index/BRA

http://www.brazilcham.com/member-news/brazil-adds-hivaids-status-list-of-protected-employment-categories

http://www.law360.com/articles/608264/brazilian-officials-seek-fines-in-alleged-hiv-drug-cartel

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3037599/what-its-like-to-live-with-hiv-in-brazil-the-worlds-greatest-hiv-aids-success-story

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/brazils-ambitious-hiv-treatment-plan-based-on-canadian-concept/article21664613/

http://www.actuaries.org/IAAHS/OnlineJournal/2004-2
/HIV%20AIDS%20in%20Brazil%20and%20South%20Africa.pdf

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, Politics and Society, Society and living environment, , , , , , , ,

Pope Francis and his interview

Pope Francis met with media

Pope Francis met with media (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))

I am amazed to see how much is written and talked about the interview, Pope Francis gave on his way back to the journalists being able to ask all sorts of questions. There was nothing new under this sun – when it comes to substance – but there was something new in tone. First of all I have never heard a pope taking the word “gay” in his mouth – homosexual was the term normally being used by church officials. Secondly I have never seen a pope being able simply to answer all sorts of questions without council and preparation, without going through the questions especially when they are tricky.

And seeing the reaction world-wide – with all kinds of interpretation depending which camp ones belongs to – it shows only one thing: how much the good people of the church and outside the church have yearned for a trace of humanity, humility and down-to-earth in the reaction and answers of the supreme leader of the Roman-Catholic Church. One can actually hear the deep breath taken and the gasp of relief that church is touching ground again. That in itself is amazing and moving.
For me there is no doubt that this pope is not to be framed by labels like “conservative’ or “progressive” – he seems totally to be himself and enjoying what he is doing. And he seems to be able to listen – but I am also sure he can be very firm when once made a decision.
Does that mean more openness in the church and within the church? Does it mean substantial change?  I am not sure – seeing how a conservative John XXIII has triggered quite some development within the church I just want to wait and see and simply enjoy what I am seeing and hearing, even if I don’t agree with everything said. I just want to enjoy that people start talking again positively about church.

Who had thought two years ago that a pope resigns? Who would have predicted that a pope talks about “gay” priests without flushing or feeling insulted? Who would have predicted a pop asking youth do “mess” around? So, let’s not over interpret everything he is saying or doing, but enjoying the fresh air he brought to millions of believers and surely to every priest and religious who works hard to live his or her vocation every given day.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
5 months to go.

15th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 31st, 2020
11 months to go.
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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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