Africa’s women in the consecrated life have resolved to end the silence concerning HIV/AIDS, in order to enable dialogue, which is a necessary step in fighting the scourge devastating the continent. The sisters have also committed themselves to promote those African cultural practices that could help check the spread of AIDS.
These are some of the resolutions made by more than a hundred sisters attending the just-concluded All Africa Conference-Sister to Sister (AACSS) on HIV/AIDS in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, August 12-18, 2003. The 107 Catholic women religious came from eight countries of Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), representing 63 women’s religious congregations. Their key facilitators were from the United States.
Key facilitators from the U.S., you know what that means. The answer will be condoms, condoms, condoms, condoms, and least we forget condoms. And with the U.S. advisors you know the statements will be chock full of “empowerment”, “dialog”, faith traditions”, “networking” and the other buzzwords of obfuscating verbosity. The only word that will not be used is abstinence or any of it’s derivatives.
“We commit ourselves to sustain our mutual empowerment by breaking the silences among us, expanding our spiritualities in response to the new demands created by the situation of HIV/AIDS in our countries, and awakening anew to the call given to all of us to respond,” the AACSS statement said.
What in the world does that mean and how will breaking silences among us reduce AIDS. Tarzan made more sense when he shouted ungowa at elephants. While you might think that I am being a little harsh on them and that they don’t out right talk about condoms, but it was debated at their conference and it is evident in their solutions which mainly entails health care. While much can be done for those suffering with HIV/AIDS via medicine, abstinence and marital fidelity is not dispensed at a pharmacy. The Sisters of Mercy who attended this conference had this statement on the subject that leaves you with no idea what they are suppose to be proposing, other than that religious attitudes are somehow to blame. No surprise since their theologians were from the bastion of orthodoxy the Yale Divinity School. Another thing you can notice when looking at these statements is that they could have been issued by any secular organization. Their words could have been advertised as “Now 100% Gospel Free.”
The sisters, who also addressed the situation of AIDS orphans, emphasised the need for a drastic change of attitude necessary for a ‘healing presence’ in society.