God AIDS Africa. A Polemical Treatise
God AIDS Africa. A Polemical TreatiseBartholomäus Grill / Stefan Hippler
Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2007
Paperback edition: Bastei Verlag, 2009
Stefan Hippler is a catholic priest and since 1997 has headed the German catholic congregation in Cape Town. Bartholomäus Grill is an expert on African affairs for the German weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT. Both emphatically report on the threat the AIDS pandemic poses to Africa in their book God AIDS Africa. They demand that the Catholic Church rethinks its restrictive ban on contraceptives, and thereby implicitly also plead for a modernization of the church's view of sexual morality. In their reports about the unbelievably difficult path of setting up the first HIV children's ward in Tygerberg hospital to the training of health workers for the townships' day clinics, Hippler and Grill alternately tell of their motivation, their conflict with faith and their view of Christian moral teaching.
They report of catholic priests who due to the threat of AIDS distribute condoms, who refute AIDS myths, who go against the rituals of superstition and who preach on Sundays about sexuality, condoms and HIV from the pulpit. The authors claim that the church through its outdated sexual morality entices people to contravene the sixth commandment "You shall not murder". The contradiction that the church finds itself in is "that it plays a leading role in caring for people suffering from AIDS" but simultaneously contributes to the further spread of the AIDS pandemic. The book GOD AIDS Africa is an emphatic plea for the battle against the AIDS pandemic in Africa and a provocative examination of catholic moral teaching.