God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Bidding farewell to IAM

We all are learning to bid farewell at times, it is like a repeated rehearsal for the big farewell of dying.  Today I bid farewell to IAM where I was for 6 years on board as a trustees. IAM stands for Integrative Affirmative Ministry and deals with the question of inclusion of gay and lesbian and transgender people into the mainstream churches. It is an amazing bunch of people, straight, gay and lesbian, priests, reverends and bishops are taking seriously the situation of the gay and lesbians who are part of the churches, but most times are not welcomed. Take my church: Homosexuality is intrinsic evil, so I have read – but being a homosexual is ok – well, as long as you don’t live it out. Not even in a committed partnership. It’s one of the most contradictory teachings in the church: Your God-given sexuality is not allowed to be practised, you are sentenced to a life in chastity to be certain to go to heaven… So they think or so some think.. Not sure what God thinks.. But I am sure that his unconditional love allows more than the church’s teaching. Other churches are fine with homosexuality – as long as it is not the pastor. Some are fine with a homosexual pastor – but not that the boyfriend or partner is living in the parish house. And vividly I remember the fight in the Anglican church when the first openly gay living bishop was ordained. What kind of threats from African and US Anglicans wanna – know – it – better – what – is – God’s – will…

The churches teaching is based on the scripture – well, the scripture did not know about committed relationships, it did not know about sexuality as we do – but what St. Augustin and others thought to know some hundred years ago – nothing has changed for the official church. Or has it? The permission of a bishop in Vienna to allow for a gay parish council chair is a light at the end of a very long tunnel. But the fight continues about the issue – and we often forget that we talk about brothers and sisters in Christ – this is not an academic study or reflection. I personally believe that we should leave it to God and the people concerned what happens between two adults in a bedroom as long as it is consensual and committed.

But back to the farewell – after six years of serving on board of this fine organisation I retired today from service and it was a touching moment. I really learned a lot about the Afrikaans culture, about LGBTI, about church and Christian communities – it was a humble experience and an eye opener in many instances. Judith, Peter, Retha and all the rest: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love, your friendship and the joined efforts. David, who also left today after 8 years of service: Have a great sabbathical, bishop and keep your friendly and welcoming attitude…  And yeah, we all keep in touch…

Filed under: General, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HIV and AIDS – more than a disease… publication SVD Verbum 3/2011 Summary

HIV/AIDS is a subject that has been part of our lives for many years now and not merely as one illness among others, because it affects all spheres of life for those afflicted. With 33 million people infected it has become for the universal church one of the signs of the times Vatican II speaks of. It presents a challenge for moral and pastoral theology, but there is also the very practical question of how to deal with priests and religious who have become infected. How is the pastoral and theological response of the Church today to rate the unconditional love of God versus the norms of moral theology? How are we to interpret the statement the Pope made in an interview about the use of condoms, which was greeted as such a sensation at the time? In addition to questions such as these the author describes his own experiences in HIV/AIDS work in South Africa and shows how important it is for understanding the meaning of healing and wholeness in a religious context.

Das Thema HIV und Aids gehört seit Jahren zu unserem Leben, wobei HIV mehr ist als nur eine Krankheit und alle Lebensbereiche der betroffenen Menschen in Mitleidenschaft zieht. Bei 33 Millionen aktuell Infizierten wird es für die Weltkirche zu einem Zeichen der Zeit, von dem das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil spricht. Es bedeutet eine Herausforderung für die Moraltheologie, für die Pastoraltheologie, aber auch für die praktische Frage, wie wir mit Priestern und Ordensleuten umgehen, die sich mit dem HI-Virus infiziert haben. Was bedeutet die bedingungslose Liebe Gottes im Vergleich mit den Regeln der Moraltheologie für die pastorale und theologische Antwort unserer Kirche heute? Wie ist das seinerzeit als so sensationell empfundene Papstinterview zu deuten, wo er von der Verwendung von Kondomen spricht? Neben diesen Fragen schildert der Autor seinen Weg in der Arbeit mit HIV/Aids in Südafrika und macht deutlich, wie wichtig und wegweisend diese für das Verstehen von Heil und Heilung des Menschen im religiösen Kontext ist.

El tema de VIH y SIDA traviesa nuestras vidas desde hace años, aun cuando VIH es más que una enfermedad, ya que afecta a todos los aspectos de la vida de las personas concernidas. Actualmente se cuentan unas 33 millones de personas infectadas que para la iglesia mundial se van tornando un signo de los tiempos, como se expresó el Concilio Vaticano II. Significa un desafío para la teología moral y pastoral, pero también se vuelve una pregunta práctica de cómo relacionarnos con sacerdotes y religiosos o religiosas que se han infectado con el VIH. ¿Qué significa el amor de Dios incondicional en relación con las reglas de la teología moral para la respuesta pastoral y teológica de nuestra iglesia actualmente? ¿Cómo hay que interpretar la entrevista del Papa que en su tiempo se consideró como tan sensacional, cuando se refiere al uso del preservativo? Más allá de estas preguntas, el autor cuenta de su camino en el trabajo con VIH/SIDA en África del Sur y aclara qué importante esto es para entender la salvación y la sanación en un contexto religioso.


Le sida est un sujet qui fait partie de nos vies depuis de nombreuses années et pas seulement comme une maladie parmi d’autres, parce qu’il affecte toutes les sphères de la vie de ceux qui en sont atteints. Avec 33 millions de personnes malades, il est devenu pour l’Église universelle l’un des signes des temps dont parle Vatican II. Il représente un défi pour la théologie morale et pastorale, mais il y a aussi la question très pratique de comment traiter des prêtres et religieux qui en sont atteints. Comment l’attitude pastorale et théologique de l’Église doit-elle présenter l’amour inconditionnel de Dieu en regard des normes de la théologie morale ? Comment devons-nous interpréter la déclaration sur l’usage du préservatif faite par le Pape lors d’une interview qui a tellement fait sensation à l’époque ? Outre des questions telles que celles-là, l’auteur décrit sa propre expérience de travail dans le domaine du sida en Afrique du Sud et montre combien c’est important pour comprendre la guérison et la santé dans un contexte religieux.



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

Flying again…

Time is flying and also the time has come to fly to Germany for an extensive and mixed programme of talks, presentations, meetings etc.

Tuesday, 11.10.2011 will see the AIDS Action Day of the National Flower Show in Germany (BUGA Koblenz) in Koblenz – meet the Koblenzer Aidshilfe, myself and others involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS on the “Rheinland Pfalz Buehne” on the BUGA.

Wednesday 12.10.2011 – 19h30 in Bonn Siegburg (SVD Priesterseminar) AIDS in Africa – Barmherzigkeit ist nicht genug – a lecture on HIV and AIDS in South Africa and Church related questions

Thursday 13.10.2011 I will visit the Domradio in Cologne and the D-Radio, the first digital radio Cologne – listen in between 18h00 and 19h30..

More on twitter – stefan_capetown

Looking forward to many encounters in Germany and obviously don’t forget the prestigious HOPE Gala in Dresden – 30.10.2011.

Vortrag in Bonn – Siegburg St Augustin

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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