Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae
On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
JOSHUA, Stephen Muoki. Agonies of structural and leadership formation in responding to HIV and AIDS between 1990 and 2000: A historiorganisational perspective. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2013, vol.39, suppl.1, pp. 291-324. ISSN 2412-4265.
In 1990, the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) resolved to respond urgently to the contextual crisis brought about by HIV and AIDS. It envisioned a new structure and leadership that would spearhead this response. However, the bishops did not foresee that this process would be marred by condom controversies, protracted labour court cases and financial donor withdrawals. In this article, I unravel a deluge of archival materials from SACBC's archive located at its headquarters in Khanya House, Pretoria, South Africa, as well as a number of oral interviews from relevant Catholic clerics and practitioners. I argue that, whereas causes for the delay in the process of establishing a structure and leadership were multifaceted, the persistent determination of the hierarchy to protect a traditionally held sexual ethos of the Catholic organisation in the midst of a fast-changing context on account of HIV and AIDS was a key factor. The power interplay thereof and the suppression of dissenting voices are not unique to the SACBC as a formal religious organisation.