Trinidad: Roman Catholic Church leader says he will not be silenced
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Roman Catholic Church leader says he will not be Silenced

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,  CMC – The head of the Roman Catholic Church here, Archbishop Joseph Harris says neither he nor the church will be silenced and will speak on all issues, including political matters in Trinidad and Tobago.

Last week, Archbishop Harris raised eyebrows when he said during the Corpus Christie mass that whatever the origin, the controversial e-mails read out by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley in the Parliament last month showed that “crimes were being committed for the sake of power”.

Rowley, who is due to appear before the Privileges Committee of Parliament on Monday over his disclosure, told legislators that he had received in December last year, a total of 31 emails, from a “whistle blower” indicating how operatives within the government had sought to undermine those institutions.  He said he had passed them on to the Office of the President.

The emails sought to link Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, her Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Local Government and Workers Minister Suruj Rambachan and security advisor to the Prime Minister, Gary Griffith as being part of the plot.

Archbishop Harris speaking with reporters following a special mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Pro-Cathedral in San Fernando, on Sunday, said that he is not perturbed at the criticism levelled at him over the remarks.

“Politics is a search for the common good and the church has a right and a duty to search for the common good and to help in that search for the common good,” he said, adding that he was standing by his comments

 “I do not know what people are saying, but I said something that was very true and neutral. I have not blamed anyone so I do not understand. This is a free country, people will say what they want to say,” he said, adding that he is not an Archbishop who will be locked away.

“I will not be locked in a sacristy. The Church is not meant to be locked in a sacristy. If the Church were locked in a sacristy all the Catholic schools we have, all the Catholic institutions looking after so many people would not be around,” he said.

During his message read out in Church on Sunday, the Archbishop said while Trinidad and Tobago is independent, citizens were still “slaves to our passions.

“In spite of having independence we can be slaves of the many voices out there who call us to do what they want us to do. At times it even seems that our slavery is so pronounced that we cannot think for ourselves. In the midst of that we have the voice of Jesus Christ. That is the only thing that can save you—God’s word,” he added.

Following the Church service, Archbishop Harris commented on issues in the country.

“When you look at the violence in the country, when you look at things like incest, when you look at the murders, you have to ask yourself if people are morally free, or whether they are acting under some impulses which are not really human.

“So that is what I mean by the difference between political independence and moral independence. Jesus Christ came to give us moral independence far more than political independence,” he added.

Tags: Archbishop Joseph Harris, Catholic, rowley, silenced, Trinidad

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