God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

21.08.2009 Judging people…

With the elevation of the Pius brotherhood through Benedikt XVI into the public eye we all can see and sense a new dawn of those, who are living in the past of the RC church and have refused to develop their faith. This in itself isn’t worrying. If people feel fine with the good old days and they want to keep them until they die – why not, if they apply it only to themselves. The danger is that with all the discussion now in the public forum, the old pictures from judgement, from evil, hell and condemnation, from a God acting like a policeman or a bookkeeper emerge again and that is the scary part. Reading about a priest in Austria starting to scare First Communion kids with hell and eternal condemnation – such teaching is surely encouraged through all the debate about the Pius brotherhood.

To spell it out again and again – and you can ask my community in Cape Town, they know it meanwhile and dream of it and can memorize it: God is love – unconditional love – and nothing ever can make us say that somebody has fallen out of the grace and mercy of God. Nobody! All those nevertheless doing it, denying that God is so much greater than all our thinking and understanding.

And this non judgemental unconditional love applies especially when it comes to such tricky topics like HIV and AIDS. There are no innocent babies and no not so innocent adults. There are only brothers and sisters with a certain condition. Point. No “Moralin”, no “Gardinenpredigt” – just acknowledgement, embracing of the condition and then the question, how to deal with it in a way beneficial to the person and his or her environment. Changing the stigma to a tool of compassion and mercy, self-knowledge and maturity.

I guess, if there is anything people living with the virus need besides good treatment and good friends it is people fighting like hell the stigma in our societies, fighting the travel bans, the discrimination, the human rights violations and fighting those who point fingers. And I have learned in my life: The more hostile people point fingers, the more they have to hide…

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