God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

28.12.2009 Execution looming….

“It’s entirely inappropriate that he be put to death, we’ve made 27 representations over the last two years… and even at this late stage I hope they will see that in a modern world it is not appropriate to put a man with mental illness to death.”, says Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis according to BBC on the case of Akmal Shaik, who is due to be executed tomorrow morning in China.

For me it is entirely inappropriate to put anyone to death – not only the mentally ill ones. The death penalty shows such a disrespect towards human life and the creation of God that it is completely incompatible with Christian values or believe system. Who takes a life – takes a human being in the likeness of God. It is indeed that simple. And the wrongdoing of one person does not excuse the wrongdoing as a reciprocal action. Vengeance is non of the names of God and those supporting these kind of actions have not understood what unconditional love means. I am aware that unconditional love is difficult for most people, but it remains true: every execution means a freely chosen insult towards God.

All criticism towards church can never deny, that this is one of the strength of this very church: to make aware that the sanctity of life is not something, that can be taken away by any court or any person’s decision. So the intentional state sponsored murder of persons to satisfy the feeling for revenge from relatives of a murder victim is like supporting a devils circle – no revenge can make good what has been lost and the meaning of penalty is not revenge but changing a person. At least in the civilised world.

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

17.07.2009 … not needed anymore…

What does one do if one suddenly is told that your services are not needed anymore? Working hard, believing in what you are doing, this was always a more theoretical question in my life – until it hit hard in Jan 2009 and manifested itself in the last months. I always assumed that I am a strong person – taking on, whatever comes its way and moving on to conquer the next mountain in life. Being the chaplain to the German speaking Catholic Community was indeed part of my life, I loved the work and all what came with it. Knowing, that we as priests have to change position I twice agreed in the last years to be transferred. All was agreed, only to be called of again without real reasoning…

I guess everybody deals differently with such a situation – one person fights on, runs virtually against a wall; another licks his wounds and falls into depression – whatever it is, what you do: there is no other way than to work through all your feelings, aggressions, disappointments, hurts and hopefully to come out as a stronger person you are in the moment.
In my situation it was to realize that there is indeed a difference between the world of church technocrats, knowing the world from their files in the office and some travel in between and us priests living at the frontline of pastoral work on a daily base.  Of course you know it, but you don’t touch it, because you are too busy with your daily challenges.
There is the other realization that our church is run by humans, you have the nice ones, the genuine ones, but also the weak, the careless, the ones only looking for a career  or whatever unrecognizable intention they have…  Once again, you know it, but you ignore it as long as you can and most times, you meet people who are compassionate about their work and take seriously that they are serving God and mankind.

But the biggest challenge in such a situation is to take a deep and careful look at yourself. What is important for you? Where do you get your stamina from? What makes you tick? What do you really believe in? All those questions bring you to the deepest valleys of your own life – not an easy one.. It must be clear for you in such a situation that the basic laws of life applies: you cannot change anybody else than yourself. And if you have experienced the unconditional love of God in your life – is there really somebody else able to border you so much that he or she can derail your way in life? They might be able to close one door – but closing one door in life means only that others will be opened and that looking back, the insult meant to you has been transformed into  a border crossing into a new path, leading to more life, more love, more peace and more happiness and fulfillment in life.

Filed under: Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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