|Leaders speak out – Oct 12|
REGENERATING THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL VALUES OF OUR SOCIETY
By Vernon Khelawan
The Third Pastoral Priority seems to be gaining traction at various levels of our society’s leadership. Archbishop Joseph Harris titled his recent address to the Transparency Institute of Trinidad and Tobago “A Deep Moral and Spiritual Renewal of Our Society.” In it, he deplored the present period of moral decadence in the country.
But the Archbishop suggested there was still some hope and said there was need to highlight the stories of upright men and women who, in spite of great personal loss, have remained faithful to Christian principles. He referred to accountants who have been blacklisted because they refused to falsify accounts, teachers who have given private lessons to children in need without charge, doctors who spend time with HIV patients and make them feel appreciated. All these, he said, must be “celebrated”.
Archbishop Harris said, “These are persons who have remained faithful to their vocation to witness to the truth. They are the present day martyrs…For us the witness of truly loyal Trinidadians and Tobagonians will encourage other persons of goodwill to live the values which we all hold dear.”
But he went a step further, saying: “This witness to enduring human values is not enough.” The Archbishop said witness must go together with education – education that did not only address the intellectual aspects of truly human living but also encouraged and supported the lifelong journey to an ever more joyful witness of our commitment to building a nation of which we can be truly proud.
Two weekends ago, President Anthony Carmona placed the upsurge of crime in the laps of persons “who were lacking in moral values”. He traced this situation right back to the lack of proper training at the level of our primary schools.
Also that weekend, Rev Daniel Teelucksingh of the Presbyterian Church and Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor Clive Dottin identified some of the current societal ills. Rev Teelucksingh said, “Dysfunctional family life is responsible for indiscipline”, while Pastor Dottin called on “parents to recognise their role”.
There is need for other leaders to speak up on the state of the society and what can possibly be done to change its present course.