God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

After weeks of silence..

After some time of silence and reflecting on the situation of the Roman-Catholic Church – reading through tons of articles, opinion pieces and so-called news I must admit that I am not so much surprised about discovering, that for quite a lot of prelates, bishops, priests and dignitaries their faith is rather formed by ideology and power play – I have seen and experienced too much in my own priestly life to not to know about the inner-workings of the church.  Living through a far too long pontificate of a Polish pope followed by brief intermezzo of a German one, trying to restore a church lived before the second Vatican council we were almost a paralyzed church when the “Buona Sera”of Pope Francis somehow gave a hint of a new dawn – and a new life-line for a cooled down church.

What surprises, even what I am nauseated by is the abuse of the abuse for power gains in my church today. The inability of the Roman Catholic Church to rid itself from the daemon of child abuse is hard to swallow. The inability to confront patriarchy and to deal with power and sexuality and the slow awareness that prayer, fasting and apologies are not good enough anymore takes its toll, but the keen abuse of this process to attack a pope and to resist reform is breath-taking.
Without shame those who under JP II and Benedict XVI have attacked anybody who dared to speak out or dared to voice concern about papal statements now have no problem themselves to ride one attack after another against the current pope.

Faith and religion seems for them to be an end in itself instead of a way to assist in fostering a relationship between humans and the divine – faith as a fixed and unchangeable instead of a fluent and intimate relationship, which needs the community of saints and sinners rather as a conduit. Or even clearer spelled out: church as a play field for exercised power and might instead of serving the needs of those we call faithful.

I guess like the world in general is at the end of an old area walking with all the challenges and somehow blindsided into a new chapter of human development, so also churches and especially the oldest player in the Christian field can not escape this shaping in the coming of the new dawn and realization what it means to be human and what is needed to tackle the challenges lying in front of us. So maybe the abuse of the abuse can be turned into a blessing in seeing clearer the mistakes and failures of the past and allow for walking forward with renewed trust that our lives have a meaning and that faith and religion is here to assist, to help and to allow the promised freedom, the magnificent freedom we are promised in the scriptures, to live a life to the fullest. Looking at it in this manner can be a liberation in itself and a starting point for a renewed church where tender love, endless hope and trusted faith as well as equality and dignity of all are at the forefront of what we believe in.


Filed under: Catholic Church, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First get rid of the relics

Some 144 German Catholic theologians, along with a handful of colleagues from Austria and Switzerland, recently issued a public declaration calling for reforms on matters such as celibacy, women priests and homosexuality. The list of signatories represents roughly one-third of Germany’s professors of Catholic theology. The letter also touches upon lay participation, styles of leadership, the liturgy, and the legal culture of the church. While most bishops and remarkably the secretary of the German Bishops Conference welcomed in principle a debate about burning issues of the church, the chair of the German Bishops Conference, Archbishop Zollitsch set a different tone today writing an article for “Die Welt”.

He questioned the public declaration by saying, that even having benevolence for the authors of the declaration, nobody would think seriously that the list of reforms would lead to a new flourishing church and faith in our days.  For him, the question rather is how to keep alive in our society the question for God and a convincing Christian answer.

I understood the declaration differently and I never assumed that anybody will think that with the requested reforms the church will directly be beamed into a new spring with people flocking to become active Catholics again. But something else would happen: Getting rid of the relics which borders us since ages could free our thinking and acting to follow the question of God and faith in our world. All these topics we discuss in our church since the last century – and it was widely reported that even Benedict XVI in his earlier time signed a declaration lamenting the situation of the church and calling for a rethink of celibacy.

HIV & AIDS are practical examples. We hardly have time to think of new strategies how to approach people in this regard and to change the habits of people because every discussion with the secular world ends that we have to defend the stance on condoms and sexuality. Additional for all those who want to have a career in the church, there is the constant anxiety to keep the official line. This stance has given away lots of credibility – we are simply not relevant anymore in these questions. Reconciling us with modern sciences in these fields and getting rid of the relics would free us to be able to think constructive and to deal honesty with the people concerned. It would enable us to give the answers of the questions of today and space for new considerations and a development of theology and spirituality.

So to answer the question of the article:  how to keep alive in our society the question for God and a convincing Christian answer is to free ourselves from stances which are not essential for the church and to allow then a real debate to answer from a Christian point of view the questions really asked by modern society and its people.

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

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