God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

No time to rest…

It is amazing – after 24 hours at airports and in the air back in South Africa and it takes not even minutes to receive the first phone call. How do they know that one is back in the country, just switching on the cell? This week is occupied a lot from work with HOPE Cape Town. The transition phase is ongoing but I get the feel that we are getting there. The website need an update and all the news about the new cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm must be beamed up. We started research in the fields of E-learning: How do our people learn best? With paper documents, computers or handheld devices? A 6 months study will hopefully tell us more about it.
But it was great to see the enthusiasm of the students and lectures from Neu-Ulm coming to Cape Town for a week of extensive work. And it was good for our HOPE Community Health worker to see how networking is functioning and how important it is to learn from each other.
Other meetings with fellow priests and friends complemented the week and there was also a second meeting regarding founding a European Club for Cape Town. A club, where one can do networking; but also intellectual and spiritual exchange should take place. And not only once a week or once a month. The club should provide a venue to be accessible every day, just to bump in for a drink and a chat or a business meeting. To make such an idea working one has to look at existing clubs to liaise and form an additional grouping using the facility. I find it an exciting idea and I have the impression that all involved like to work hard to get it off the ground and going.

Ending a time as chaplain at sea means also to write a report about your work, the church wants to know what one has done in this swimming vineyard and even some guests have already taken the opportunity to send greetings from home to their “ex-chaplain”.

Church wise the appointment of Bishop Mueller from Regensburg in Germany to be “God’s watchdog” has created some debate and yeah, I guess, it is debatable. He has a diversity which leaves one sometimes guessing in which direction it explodes. On one hand he is a friend of one of the most acknowledged liberation theologian in South America; on the other hand he dealt with laity in his diocese in a way which is more than questionable. And for the Pius-brothers he seems to be a heretic – denying the virgin birth of Jesus and the teaching of transubstantiation. So it seems nobody is really happy – except the pope I guess and I think we just have to wait and see what is happening. Even if the past might be difficult, there is always the hope that people can change or grow into a job in a way serving God and the people.  All the hasty judgements,be it positive or negative are too early. Let him start and we will see…

Reading also the news on AIDS I see that Uganda starts to have problems related to resistance. This comes not as a suprise, this is indeed one of the biggest challenges we have to keep the virus far away from turning into a nasty resistant one. But the chances are high that it will happen if we don’t watch out very carefully, also here in South Africa.
I also note that the OraSure HIV home kit test is now FDA approved. I remember sitting with the representative of this company quite some years ago and at that time I felt that this test could prove good to make testing easier and avoid the pre-test counselling which I believe we have to stop doing as soon as possible. But local government and the hospitals were not keen at that time even to listen to such a test not performed in a hospital setting.

Well, weekend is coming and I hope there is time for some reading. I just have counted: There are 23 books waiting to be read…

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

20.08.2009 Positive clergy

Whether it is because people have read some postings or otherwise heard about it, it is amazing that there are people out there believing that a normal priest, a normal religious can not be HIV positive. Why not – I ask back. Also clergy, religious and seminarians, even nuns are only human beings, having a life before entering the state of religious life or being ordained. They continue to be human beings with all what comes with it, they can fail and raise again, and not only once.

Being a priest, religious or seminarian means to be called to holiness, but humanity remains – holiness without humanity, mistakes, errors and a life with ups and downs is not existing. There is nobody being born, raised and then lived a life without falter in this world. And when it comes to the official saints of the church, their holiness can only shine against the humanity, they have shown and experienced in their lives.

Only knowing to be weak, to make mistakes, to go wrong ways – and accepting that, can lead to maturity and to show compassion to others as I am able to show compassion to myself.

Writing this, I also feel, that even to think in the categories of “right” or “wrong” in connection with HIV is wrong. It is not even up to me to judge anybody in this matter. Decisions, we humans make and have to make every day leads to all sort of consequences. The main thing is to accept the consequences and to live your life to the fullest. Leave the judgment to God…

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

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
5 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2020

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