Catholic youth represent at ‘Youth Week 2022’
August 16, 2022
Lilies of the field
August 16, 2022

Our evolving spaces

This year 2022 can be a pivotal year in plotting a way forward for State with our diamond jubilee celebration of independence. It certainly has been for Church. The lesson from the synodal process is that a pause is required to listen and change what needs to be changed for evolution to occur which is truly in alignment with the well-being of the people who inhabit this space.
Last Sunday’s editorial focused on the rise of an all-year approach to Carnival and possible ramifications, socially and otherwise. Beyond this, secular news and social media commenters focus on scenes of violence, rising prices that are putting necessities beyond the purchasing range of many consumers, water woes, irresponsible and crass declarations from individuals in the political arena.
There is a palpable sense of anger and helplessness from those on the ground. It could very well be that the Carnival mentality, and the concurrent feteing plans, provide escape from the entrapment of these emotions.
Also occurring, via social media for many of our young people are modes of thought and behaviour that can alter who we are as a nation for generations to come.
In his homily of Sunday, August 14, Archbishop Jason Gordon spoke passionately on the necessity of speaking the truth despite possible backlash in this new time of cancel culture and woketivism.
These do not allow for any conversation or discussion against prevailing, and pushed, ideologies on sexuality, or even regarding political stances. Conversations have become like a minefield, especially for leaders or celebrities who want to speak truth, or express an opinion against the grain.
Let us remember the University of Woodford Square where thought and opinion of Public Joe had space to be voiced. There may have been disagreement but not the hounding and silencing that is occurring now.
JK Rowling, once beloved author of the immensely popular Harry Potter series was cancelled for alleged transphobic tweets. Her position had been statements in support of biological sex determining gender.
The campaign of harassment she underwent began in 2019, with her initial statement: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”
This was in response to a case in the UK where a woman was fired for expressing her belief, among others, that it is “impossible to change sex”.
The Archbishop had his own experience of this when a tertiary institute compiled a 4000-person petition for an article written in his column for the Catholic News. He was deemed a ‘hater’.
Trinidad and Tobago is on the razor’s edge. With internal pressures and external influences bearing down, a synodal pause and reflection is necessary.
What do we want for Trinidad and Tobago in the next 60 years, economically yes, but especially socially. What does it mean to be independent? What were the values we had? Where are we now?
As family, we also must question ourselves. Have we offered our children enough guidance and open conversation to understand this complicated world around them? Have we listened to them? Have we taught them that disagreement does not make a person their enemy, nor invalidate what is being said?
Nation building is not just the responsibility of State and Church leaders, but a careful collaboration of, as emphasised in the Archbishop’s column of last week, family, Church, and State, each with delineated roles.
As nation, let us return to the early words of our first Prime Minister Eric Williams and his vision for us, “The strength of the Nation depends on the strength of its citizens. Our National Anthem invokes God’s blessings on our Nation, in response to those thousands of citizens of all faiths who demanded God’s protection in our Constitution. Let us then as a Nation so conduct ourselves as to be able always to say in those noblest and most inspiring words of St Paul, ‘By the Grace of God, we as people are what we are, and His Grace in us hath not been void’.”

Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash