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Church has critical role in shaping society

Jamaica's Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke Photo:


The Minister of Finance and the Public Service has called on the Church to continue playing a critical role in shaping modern Jamaica, especially at a time when the middle class is retreating from politics.

Dr Nigel Clarke made this comment to guests who were present at the Stella Maris Charities Fundraising Dinner at the Spanish Court Hotel last June where he congratulated the organisation for promoting the kind of voluntarism that brings lasting and meaningful change to the lives of Jamaicans.

The quarterly publication Catholic Opinion said that the finance minister’s speech was both “informative and entertaining” as he spoke about his own experiences as a young student of St Richard’s Primary School and the role that the Catholic Church has played and continues to play in nation-building.

He said that at St Richard’s, he came under the influence of Sr Cabrini, whom he described as “a wonderful woman who dedicated her life to the upliftment of children”.

Dr Clarke said that Sr Cabrini epitomised the work of the Catholic Church throughout Jamaica in the areas of education, caring for the poor and “being a voice of conscience and reason”.

Clarke brought some laughter to the occasion when he spoke of “the similarity between politics and the priesthood.” He went on to explain that both seek to fulfil the needs of the human soul— “one for the eternal and one for the contemporary life.”

According to the article, Dr Clarke said that eternal and temporal aspects of our existence are interconnected and that is the reason why religion has played, and continues to play, an active role in social movements all over the world.

Earlier, Fr Howard Thompson explained to guests that the annual Stella Maris Charities Fundraising Dinner was a major fundraiser for the Church’s various community outreach programmes in the parish, including the Stella Maris Foundation for Skills Training and Counselling, the Street People Ministry, Women’s and Men’s Prison Ministry and food distribution to the indigent.