God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

22.09.2009 more fundamental questions…

In the last days I described my stance on mandatory testing and the pre-testing counseling. Having now more time to dedicate my energy towards the HIV/AIDS portfolio, there are more topics I feel are necessary to persue in the coming months and years. I have spoken already about the need to end the stigmatization within the health sector itself.  On the political front I can forsee to look more intensive into the question of travel freedom of people living with the virus. The ban to visit certain countries or the ban to get a work permit if you are HIV positive as you can find it in Australia, Singapore and many other countries is not only a sign of a lack of maturity of politicians in the respective countries but also a clear violation of human rights. I am aware that the UN, but also the German “AIDS Hilfe” is dealing with the issue, but we should all join hands and start to pressurize political systems allowing such violations of dignity and human rights.
In some of the blogs I mention the work with HIV positive priests and religious as well as seminarians. This is indeed a very tricky question and I hope that in October, when I am in Rom to meet together with Joachim Franz with the papal council for health care workers, to get this council on board to have a hard look how we deal with HIV and AIDS in our own ranks. Is the refusal to take a HIV positive person into e.g. monkhood or a seminary not a sign of fear and immaturity of the church? Are we as a church really allowed to deal with infected people in refusing them to follow their vocation? I am sure that God does not mind the status of a person. So we also shouldn’t mind the HIV status of a person. What kind of AIDS policies are regulating the life of the church and their institutions? Do we advocate the acceptation of people living with the virus only for the area outside the church? Tough questions, but we owe it the greater love of God to check our own balances on those questions and see whether they add up.

The ethical question of ceasing treatment if somebody does not adhere at all – also a tricky question. I mentioned the criminal law as a tool of prevention, which I find absolutely unreasonable in the way it is administered in most countries, specially also here in Africa.

Those are some of the questions in my mind, where I would like to contribute towards a solution which ends the madness of stigmatization and discrimination, which forces governments and churches to act reasonable and always upholding the dignity and human rights of every person.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, Networking, Politics and Society, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

30.07.2009 midnight local time

Chiangi Airport in Singapore. A quiet airport at this time of the night, where I wait for my connection flight. As I have booked redeeming my miles, I only now discover that my flight from Singapore to Cape Town ends already in Johannesburg, where I have to leave the plane and to check in with SAA from Jo’burg to Cape Town.  Singapore Airlines is also continuing flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town, but that would be to easy for the Miles & More program to make travel convenient. Why occupying a seat in a half empty plane for the two hour flight when one can bring somebody to discover the delights of Johannesburg airport. I phone the Senator service, but they cannot help. No, it is not logic, they told me, but still, I have to change planes… I love this program which brings again and again the joy of convenience to their customers.

I know I repeat myself but it is still a funny feeling: Flying back home without knowing, what to expect in the next weeks to come. If somebody would have told me some time ago that I am faced with such a situation, I would have laughed him off.  8 weeks sounds like a long time, but in reality time is running like crazy. In my heart I know what my calling is, but do I achieve it or be able to follow up on it?  I remember now an old saying: the midst of the night is the beginning of a new day. Maybe that should be enough for now… let’s wait for the new dawn arriving…

Filed under: Reflection, , , , , ,

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