|Towards a morally revitalised T&T – Dec 15|
By Vernon Khelawan
The Year of Faith has ended, as has the year dedicated to the Second Pastoral Priority – Revitalising Catholic Culture and Identity. Now the focus is firmly set on the Third Pastoral Priority – Regenerating Moral and Spiritual Values in our Society, a mandate from Synod 2009.
As was done for the other two Priorities, parish groups, schools and ministries have been asked to submit pastoral plans. The original date for that event was December 8, but some administrative and logistical problems have forced a postponement to January 31, 2014.
The new date is expected to allow enough time for parishes, communities and institutions to complete their pastoral plans.
While all the Priorities are important to the Church, the present environment in our country – child abuse, incest, human trafficking, increasing divorce, lack of respect, the deterioration of our esteemed institutions, pervasive corruption and the almost total absence of proper policing which gives way to general lawlessness – should dictate the kinds of plans parishes should seek to produce, all in an effort to restore the moral and spiritual values which have been lost.
In a document presented at Synod 2009, the then Fr Joseph Harris stated, “There is a profound and frightening breakdown of morality in our nation, with a corresponding breakdown of the harmony which is God’s plan for the world.
“What is even more frightening,” he added, “is our apparent acceptance as normal these signs of moral decadence.” Four years later nothing has really changed; in fact, the state of affairs seems to have worsened.
Fr Harris put it bluntly when he stated that there was no doubt that we (Trinidad and Tobago) were in crisis. In a spirit of optimism, he stated, however, that a crisis always presented opportunities for creative ways of forging new realities. He saw evangelisation and culture as key to a new and morally revitalised Trinidad and Tobago.