God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

14.02.2010 Valentine Day, drugs and social structures..

Three services at Milnerton church, 3 kids baptized, one lekker luncheon and a decent dinner – this weekend had enough of its own but at the end I feel, that I still had enough time to do some office work in between.
Valentine’s Day and I reminded the churchgoers this evening that Valentine was originally a Catholic feast before the Americans took over and commercialized it in a way one cannot see the origin anymore.
On the same weekend it happened that I was reading about the drug war in Mexico – about the mounting dead toll and – according to the article the growing understanding, that the problem cannot be solved militarily.  The article hinted that more and more South American states were thinking about legalizing the drugs and so to strip the black market and all the crime going with it. I am not sure how they want to do it, but I also think meanwhile, seeing all the criminal behaviour attached to recreational drug use, that to ease the restrictions could be a way forward. The Netherlands have shown that legalizing marijuana in a certain way does not mean to get more people on drugs but to ease the work of the police and to relax the situation. Without advocating the complete decriminalization of all drugs I am certainly convinced, that a radical re-think of the problem only can help us to get a grip on the drama, unfolding in many countries of the world.  I am also thinking of medical marijuana for terminal ill or chronically ill persons – why not? It makes sense to me and when I see how easy our society is with alcohol and tobacco, yes – still tobacco if you look at it from a global point – then I guess a re-think would do good in many ways.

Well, I am sure that now some readers are jumping, asking how a priest can advocate such a solution for drugs. I do advocate nothing, but I certainly do think that we have to think out of the box to tackle the problem – especially also in South Africa.

Another article which got me thinking was a German article talking about Mr. Westerwelle attacking the social security system of our system in connection with “Hartz IV”,  which regulates the grant, people without work get in Germany. I am convinced that Hartz IV is against certain human rights and certainly the way it is impemented is against the dignity of people and we have to re-think it again, but in a complete different way than he thinks we should do it. Hartz IV and the poverty, which also affects people living with HIV and AIDS is certainly for Germans a point to reflect on. The staggering attacks of the politician on the social fabric of the German society sounds definitely not right in my point of view but shows how far politicians have distanced themselves from the realities of life.  I agree with him, that is unfair that somebody working can earn less than the grant, but it is not the grant which is wrong but the earning of that person. All this cheap labour, introduced in the last years in Germany in the spell of the delusion that de-regulations of the markets are doing all miracles for the economic grows of  a country, is simply wrong.

Well, you see, lots of food for thoughts – and that just on the Valentines weekend…

Filed under: General, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

01.02.2010 News which grabbed my attention this early morning

There are some news which grabbed my attention this morning:

The first is from Berlin where the rector of the Berlin  Canisius-Kolleg gave a press conference about the abuse of minors, which happened in the college in the seventies. Amongst his thoughtful assessment he also said: “The church is suffering of homophobie.” He elaborated that the church keeps quiet about homosexuality in its own rank and the clergy with this inclination is permanently unsure whether there are accepted within the church hierarchy when they deal honestly with their sexuality. I think this is right – we all have to deal with sexuality – and only when we can do it in an honest way, then my assessment is, that most cases of abuse of minors could be avoided. In my view we as a church are guilty of not confronting this topic in a reasonable way many times.

The second news this morning is also from the church and deals with a talk, Archbishop Marx from Munich gave in Davos,where he supported the idea of controlling the banks better after the disaster last year. I think he is right, but that is for still to little to late. Maybe the article I read gave not all he said, but I guess, we have to learn many more lessons from the last recession and as far as I can see, we do ignore most of these but instead touch up some spots and go ahead as usual – until the next crash. It seems that the politicians nor the churches are able really  and hard and honest to reflect on major changes in our economical and political system to avoid disaster and to come to a just system of an economic system, which also has a social component. The fact that every politicans is eager to be re-elected in a short time of office means that most of them have no guts to really go for reform.
The system of Hartz IV in Germany, the unbelievable ignorance of politicians in Germany when it comes to the reform of health care show as examples the impotence of current politics.

The third news of this morning is about the Iraq war and its consequences. It is reported that the advisers to President Bush, who gave green light for the legal implementation of torture as an offical tool for the military and the CIA will not be prosecuted. It is a shame that the masterminds of the implementation of torture are going free while normal people face the full force of the law when convicted of minor things. We are not equal before the law. The same applies by the way for Georg W Bush and Tony Blair who, would they have lived and acted as an African head of states would face the Criminal Court in De Haag for war crimes – starting a war without legal grounds. As European or US American, they are standing above the international law. It is indeed a joke that we fail to implement our own ethical principals to ourselves while insisting they are applied to others.

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

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