Tag Archives: Africa

World AIDS Day and Pope Benedict

World Aids Day 2011.jpg

Today’s known as World AIDS Day. The focus of the day is “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.” This dreadful disease has claimed many millions of people world-wide –and sex is not always to blame. AND condom use is the answer.

With all the advances in medicine, there are still gaping holes in education and prevention in the fields of medicine, pharmacology, spirituality and society. The recent trip of Pope Benedict to Benin highlighted yet again the need before us. Specifically Benedict called for a holistic response to the AIDS pandemic.

Pope Benedict stated:

The problem of AIDS,in particular,clearly calls for a medical and pharmaceutical response. This is not enough, however: the problem goes deeper. Above all, it is an ethical problem. The change of behavior that it requires -for example, sexual abstinence, rejection of sexual promiscuity, fidelity within marriage- ultimately involves the question of integral development,which demands a global approach and a global response from the Church. For if it is to be effective, the prevention of AIDS must be based on a sex education that is itself grounded in an anthropology anchored in the natural law and enlightened by the word of God and the Church’s teaching.

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Pope speaks to new ambassadors from Africa…why bother?

Pope & Ambassadors.jpgIf you are following the daily work of the Pope you’ll
notice that his schedule is often filled with meeting important people.
Ambassadors are but one such group of important people that build relationships between the Pope (and
the Holy See) with a respective nation. From my perspective I am interested in the workings of the US Ambassador to the Holy See,
Dr. Miguel Humberto Dias, but I have an interest in what others are doing, too, because of the universality of the Church and needs of humanity.

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Saint Charles Lwanga & companions

The African martyrs add another page to the martyrology–the
Church’s role of honor–an occasion both of mourning and of joy. This is a page
worthy in every way to be added to the annals of that Africa of earlier times
which we, living in this era and being people of little faith, never expected
to be repeated.

St Charles Lwanga and followers.jpg

In earlier times there occurred those famous deeds, so
moving to the spirit, of the martyrs of Scilli, of Carthage and of that “white
robed army” of Utica commemorated by Saint Augustine and Prudentius; of the
martyrs of Egypt so highly praised by Saint John Chrysostom and of the martyrs
of the Vandal persecution. Who would have thought that in our days we should
have witnessed events as heroic and glorious?

Who could have predicted to the famous African confessors
and martyrs such as Cyprian, Felicity, Perpetua and the greatest of all,
Augustine, that we would one day add the names so dear to us as Charles Lwanga
and Matthias Mulumba Lekemba and their twenty companions? Nor must we forget
those members of the Anglican Church who also died for the name of Christ.

These African martyrs herald the dawn of a new age. If only
the mind of man might be directed not toward persecutions and religious
conflicts but toward a rebirth of Christianity and civilization!

Africa has been washed by the blood of these latest martyrs,
the first of this new age (and, God willing, let them be the last, although
such a holocaust is precious indeed). Africa is reborn free and independent.

The infamous crime by which these young men were put to
death was so unspeakable and so expressive of the times. It shows us clearly
that a new people needs a moral foundation, needs new spiritual customs firmly
planted, to be handed down to posterirty. Symbolically, this crime also reveals
that a simple and rough way of life -enriched by many fine human qualities yet
enslaved by its own weakness and corruption–must give way to a more civilized
life wherein the higher expressions of the mind and better social conditions
prevail. (Pope Paul VI, homily at the canonization of St Charles, 1963)

Father, You have made the blood of the martyrs the seed of Christians. May the witness of Saint Charles and his companions and their loyalty to Christ in the face of torture inspire countless men and women to live the Christian faith.

What the Pope actually said about condoms

The head of the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) Jesuit Father Michael Czerny reflects on the Pope’s comments on condoms in an online article, “A human and spiritual wake-up call.” The author deals with what the Pope actually said, not what the what media heard. Father Czerny does a good job with the matter.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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