Confessing and embodying justice: About being a confessing church vis-à-vis HIV/AIDS


  • F De Lange



HIV/AIDS, moral judgements


This article looks at the responsibilities of churches regarding the HIV/AIDS pandemic form the perspective of the principles contained in the Confession of Belhar. After an overview is given of the global impact of HIV/AIDS, it is suggested a new kairos, similar to the one under apartheid, which lead to the formulation and adoption of Belhar, has arrived for the church. This kairos necessitates a paradigm shift in the attitudes of churches towards sex. This would require: an act of repentance by churches on their silence, moral judgements and exclusion of sufferers; the acknowledgement that the disease affects the whole church as unified Body of Christ and not only churches in poor countries; a realistic and comprehensive approach by churches towards the pandemic. Finally an appeal is made on churches not only to accept their pastoral responsibilities vis-à-vis HIV/AIDS, but also their prophetic responsibilities in exposing factors that promotes the spread of or aggravates the suffering caused by the disease, especially economic globalisation and gender inequality.






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