Anniversary is an accomplishment, says Archbishop

May 10, 2017
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Easter celebration in Laventille/Morvant
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As Catholic News celebrated its 125th anniversary May 6, Archbishop Joseph Harris encouraged the publication to rouse frank discussions on both Catholic and non-Catholic viewpoints.

“I would love to see a section in the Catholic News where anybody writes, say what they think and we can answer. I am not one who says that the only thing you must publish is the Catholic [viewpoint]. I think we need to publish, we need to discuss…yes we need to give the Catholic viewpoints but I would like to see other viewpoints,” the Archbishop said in CAMSEL’s Ask the Archbishop live chat on Facebook, April 26.

Describing the milestone as an “accomplishment”, Archbishop Harris congratulated the publication for promoting a perspective that encourages debates on significant moments in the life and history of Trinidad and Tobago.

“I think that is what it is doing now. But I think it has always done that to some extent. I think that people find the Catholic News very interesting and they want to read it,” he said.

The Archbishop’s dream is for the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain be established as a daily, but one that is “different”.

Commenting on the revised changes and approach to teaching the Theology of the Body and Confirmation classes, Archbishop Harris said that the changes implemented were based on feedback that classes were boring. Additionally, he said, one of the problems facing the Church and civilisation is the instability of marriage.

“All of us know that the bonding of two people who have different educations, different temperaments, different family cultures… to bring that and bond that into one is not easy.

“Marriage, therefore, is something that we have to prepare for well. You can’t just jump into it. It has to be something that you prepare for because marriage is for life,” he said.

The Archbishop revealed that the Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) are not satisfied that the three-stage marriage preparation programme process: remote, proximate and immediate – are adequately addressed.

He acknowledged, “We have been doing immediate marriage preparation and forgetting the remote and the proximate.”

The proximate preparation process, he said, is now being experienced in Confirmation programmes.

“And therefore, the Theology of the Body comes into place. We begin to see the body as the instrument through which we enter into God’s creative plan and therefore you see the body as something holy.”

He continued, “We live in a culture which does not see the human body as something holy. We see it as something for pleasure. We don’t see it as something which has the potential to continue the ongoing creation of Almighty God. Now when you begin to see it as that instrument whereby you join into God’s creative plan then there’s a shift when you come to that understanding. It comes with a great deal of respect. You clothe yourself differently, you carry on differently,” he said. – KJ

Archbishop of Port of Spain