Next Saturday, April 25, 2009 Father Valentine Tsamma Seane will be ordained as the Bishop of the Catholic Diocess of Gaborone, replacing the Right Reverend Bishop Setlalekgosi.
Bishop Setlalekgosi reached the canonical age after being at the helm of the Diocess for the past 26 years.
On Friday, Father Valentine met with the media at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Gaborone and promised to always be available to the media after he assumes his new role.
“Media can benefit society if used well,” he said. “The role of the media, its wrongness or rightness, depends on how it is used. It is good when used well.”
Before dwelling on the issues of Aids, condoms and the youth, Father Valentine urged journalists to be “sensitive and professional” in their duties, saying that even the Catholic Church attaches a lot of importance on the media as can be evidenced by its proprietary of TV and radio stations broadcasting to the world.
On the contentious issue of the use of condoms, Father Valentine said that the teaching of the Catholic Church remains unchanged worldwide and that is: the Church does not promote the use of condoms.
“Those who want to promote condoms, those who want to make business can do so, not the Church,” Valentine said, encouraging “individual self contingency”.
He said condoms came on the market around 1950 and queried what people used before that.
He said the answer is simple: people used “natural contraception”.
“Artificial contraceptives came as a need to fulfill human selfishness ÔÇô to separate the responsibility of making babies from the need for pleasure,” he said. “It is amazing how some people feel confident and assured when they put their hand into their pocket and feel that plastic. The condom thinks for you. We, as the Church, tell people to use common sense not condoms.”
Last month, Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa for the first time as Pope and immediately declared that handing out condoms is not the answer in the fight against HIV/Aids.
“HIV/Aids is a tragedy that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem,” the Pope said on arrival in Cameroon.
The solution lay, he said, in a “spiritual and human awakening” and “friendship for those who suffer”.
Father Valentine said he wanted to talk about things that sustain life and said that the Church sponsors several programmes to educate the youth about the right way to handle themselves.
“We sponsor “Youth for Life” at which the youth gather and discuss issues. We have programmes to assist the youth in the whole of Southern Africa.”
Father Valentine, however, conceded one situation to which he might accept the use of the condom.
“If one partner of a married couple is infected and the other is not, they might use the condom as one of the lesser evil.”
He said the church will never keep quiet on the issue of condoms.
“The Church has the wisdom, knowledge and the experience so the government must listen.”
Father Valentine spent 18 years in South Africa and his ordination at Ditshupo Hall next week will see him become the youngest Motswana bishop.
His appointment was blessed by both the entire church and Pope Benedict XVI.
Expected at his ordination are His Excellency, The Most Reverend of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop James Patrick Green, who is the Papal Ambassador to 5 countries in Southern Africa, and His Eminence Wilfrid Cardinal Napier.
“The ordination of Valentine is seen as a milestone not only in Botswana but the entire Southern Africa and the world, particularly so because he is among the 10 youngest bishops to be ordained in the Catholic Church around the world and the youngest in the Southern African Bishops Conference,” said retiring Bishop Setlalekgosi at an impromptu press briefing last month at which he sort to enlighten the public about the looming ordination.