God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

04.11.2009 Positive clergy

At the end of my stay in Germany I have had a meeting with a representative of the Archdiocese of Munich to discuss with him several matters. One was my request to the Archbishop of Munich to support my work in the fields of HIV/AIDS when it comes to priests, religious, clergy being positive. It is a tricky question but a very important one: how we deal with those amongst us, who are HIV positive.

I will visit in the near future some South African bishops as well to discuss this topic and to try to bring it to Rome. “It will raise some eyebrows”, so a member of the papal council for health care worker in Rome, but he also sees it as necessary to face this question. For me it has to do with justice within the church – all what we proclaim outside how to deal with people being HIV positive we must apply within the church. A long way to go, but all starts with the first mile. And I am grateful to all who are part of this new project.


Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Networking, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

29.10.2009 Do we need a theology of AIDS?

A talk and discussion with the Catholic Community of the University of Aachen. Do we need a theology of AIDS? Is HIV a sign of the times? – quite a handful of questions to discuss and it was a good evening. I could bounce my ideas about a theology of AIDS onto the students and at the end I guess we had a consent that we need a theology of HIV and AIDS. We also agreed that we have to network and start working on it as the people of God and trying to involve others in the church. It was also acknowledges how much we need a pastoral approach towards those within the church living with the virus, be it laity, clergy or religious.

It was in summary an amazing day with lots of good encounters – a real exchange of ideas, yes, a bridging of ideas, life circumstances, life realities. I am very grateful for this day and I am now looking forward to the days in Dresden. A total different set of encounters there, but also very important – getting a whole town to realise the reality of HIV and AIDS and to do some about it. I guess, I will sleep tonight very well.

Filed under: Networking, , , , , , , , , , ,

19.10.2009 will they listen?

At 9 am today we will have the meeting with the papal council for the health care workers, which also deals with the topic of HIV and AIDS.  Coming closer to the meeting I am really excited, thrilled and a bit anxious how they will receive our POZ proposal working with HIV positive clergy. Open support?? silent support?? No support?? More talks needed? Are they the right partners for such an endeavor?  We will see…

I am glad that Joachim is with me,  it also gives us the opportunity to discuss the topic “sports and church” in the field of HIV and AIDS.

Joachim Franz and Stefan Hippler

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Networking, , , , , , , , , , ,

29.09.2009 Last things take long..

Thinking of wrapping up is one thing, doing it another. I never thought that the process of getting everything done can be so demanding. Yeap, it feels like it will never take an end – and that now suddenly the time is much too short to finish off in time. Tomorrow at midnight ends my assignment as chaplain, tomorrow at midnight starts at the same time my new assignment as priest with special duties… So the old one is still demanding, the new one is already demanding – and I am running in circles. That makes one tired – therefore only a brief blog entry – I need all sleep I can get.

But we have had a meeting of POZ HOPE Cape Town today, a group building up a support group for HIV positive clergy. An exciting meeting as all are keen to make a difference. I will definitely report back on that – a major concern in my new professional life. So watch the space and be prepared to take part in a new adventure. And as always – feel free to comment and add – that is the purpose of a blog.

And I wrote a farewell letter to my headquarters, telling almost each and every one of my fellow co-workers and direct superiors about my reflection towards their actions in the last year. Not everybody will be happy about it – but I like clear words – it is so important for the inner hygiene.. 🙂

Good night for now 🙂

Filed under: Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , ,

20.09.2009 Beyond the condoms…

Having written a blog entry about the criminalization of  HIV and seeing the response so far, I just realise that there are quite some moral and ethical issues we still have to deal with in the fields of HIV and AIDS. One is used to hear only about the condom story when talking about or talking with the Catholic Church, but there are more things coming to my mind:
– Equality of man and women
– Criminal Code and HIV
– Travel restrictions or travel ban and human rights
– Commencement and possible cessation of treatment
– Dealing of the Catholic Church (or any church) with their own clergy being positive
– Understanding of sexuality in the context of Europe, Africa and Asia as well as Latin America
– Abstinence only or diverse approach towards prevention work

I wish I could convince the German and the Southern African Bishops Conference to set up a study group on all these issues and surely a couple of more questions, which will come up in a brainstorming session. It would make such a difference.

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

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