God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Who am I to judge – a developing story

“The history of homosexuals in our society is a very bad history because we have done a lot to marginalize them. It is not so long ago and so as church and as society we have to say sorry,”, so the German Cardinal Marx somehow in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting and it seems the walls of the fortress Catholic church seems to coming down. Even worse Pope Francis re-affirms his “Marxist Cardinal”, as he jokey called him and the tremors can be felt on twitter and in statements all over the Catholic world. Cardinal Napier fears for the worst according to his twitter account and even revokes God’s help on this subject. Also in the USA bishops feel either called to testify to the effect that Catholic wording has contributed to the hate and discrimination of LGBTI people while others see no harm in calling their brothers and sisters “intrinsic evil”. It seems Orlando has taken off the gloves in the Catholic church when it comes to the question of same-sex love and its consequences in life.
This is in principle good so because it opens up a debate and reflection on a seemingly hot potato clerics were not even allowed to whisper loud in the times of Pope Benedict XVI without risking to be reprimanded heavily.  The rifts, the different opinions, the soul-searching can now start in earnest – and as with most things in our days society has been in the lead while the church tries to catch up with matters important for those not falling in the “hetero” category.
I guess if we agree that we all are on our way to understand God’s good creation, if we agree that listening to each others stories without judgement or prejudice would be the order of today then Orlando might become a turning point in the relationship between the biggest faith communities and the LGBTI community in this world. A tragedy turned into a blessing for those at the margins of our church longing to be fully accepted in their God-given way of love and commitment. The teaching of the church always has developed – from how we saw slavery till the judgement on democracy, freedom of religion and so many more – because our knowledge and insight developed. Even in the bible we see this development from a God of war and killing fields slowly being recognized as a God of peace and love and understanding. We as church are always on the way, we always have to listen, to discern – and maybe the biggest sin of a faith community can be to be so anxious of new insights or more closeness to God and his children that there is simply a refusal to walk forward.

Moses, Abraham and all the prophets called the chosen people again and again out of all safety zones to conquer the promised land. All those stories also tell us of failure, of turning back to the seemingly “good old days” , telling us of penance, of God’s willingness to forgive and to continue the alliance between God and mankind.

Let’s remember that the concept of homosexuality is a very modern and new one. No Jew of the Old Testament nor Jesus did know about it. So let’s start to discern, lets start to look anew at what is God telling us – let’s listen to voices like Pope Francis and Cardinal Marx and dare to dream of the people of God including all in his love without labeling some as “intrinsic evil”.

Working in the fields of the HIV pandemic which indeed has hit the LGBTI community the hardest the influence of faith of the lives of people is clearly to be seen. The religious views of Ronald Reagan contributed heavily to the ignorance government showed in the USA when HIV emerged because it was just killing gays. With proper unbiased action 32 million people would not have to suffer today and millions would still be alive. Faith can change the world for better or for worse.

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

Papal comments on condoms reflected pastoral concern

Pope Benedict XVI’s recent comments about condoms represented a “normal and traditional” pastoral application of moral theology, according to a theologian who advises the Vatican on doctrinal matters. The pope’s comments reflect the principle that there can be “intermediary steps toward moral awareness” that allow for some flexibility in how church teachings are applied, Franciscan Father Maurizio Faggioni said. Father Faggioni, a moral theologian and a consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke to Catholic News Service about the reaction to the pope’s statement on condoms in the book, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.” In the book, the pope repeated his view that condom campaigns are not the way to stop the AIDS epidemic, but he allowed that in some specific cases — for example, a prostitute who tries to diminish the risk of spreading infection — use of a condom could be a first step toward taking moral responsibility for one’s actions.   Father Faggioni said the pope’s comments should be seen in the light of traditional principles of moral theology, including gradualism, which understands moral decision-making as a path that involves a series of progressions.

“The Holy Father recognizes that there is a path of growth in responsibility,” Father Faggioni said. By saying condom use may mark a step along that path, he said, the pope is allowing for a “wise and prudent” application of church teaching to individual cases. “This is nothing more than a normal and traditional application of some principles of pastoral teaching and of moral casuistry,” Father Faggioni said. Moral casuistry refers to a method that tries to determine appropriate moral responses to particular cases and circumstances. Father Faggioni said the pope’s comments do not place in question the church’s teaching against birth control, but recognize that there can be different ways of applying the general law to specific situations.  “One could ask to which other cases this would extend. This is something that will be seen. One should not force the words of the Holy Father, either,” he said. Father Faggioni noted that the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation began studying the morality of condom use in disease prevention at a time when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict — was the congregation’s prefect.

He said the pope had chosen an informal medium, that of a book-length interview, to discuss the issue. In the strict sense, then, his words do not have the weight of official church teaching, he said. But at the same time, Father Faggioni said, the pope knows what he’s talking about, having followed the theological discussion on this issue for many years. He said commentators should remember this when suggesting, as some have, that the pope may have strayed outside his field of expertise. “This is the pope speaking, after all,” Father Faggioni said. “He is the supreme teacher.”

Source: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1004977.htm

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

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
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