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Bishop Clyde Harvey of St Georges-in-Grenada has responded to allegations published in The New Today that he has “only 5 months on the job”.

The online news source said that the bishop is due to “step down” in November when he attains the mandatory retirement age of 75.

A senior member of the local clergy told The New Today he is not aware of any letter being dispatched to the Vatican in Rome by Bishop Harvey seeking an extension to stay on the job.

In a Good News Catholic Communications segment July 6, Bishop Harvey explained while a bishop has to retire at 75, the Pope can accept the bishop’s resignation before that letter is tendered.

He said he was advised to wait until his birthday to submit his letter. “And then the process will begin. What that means, I could be here for another year because it takes about a year for the process of the nomination of a bishop,” Bishop Harvey said.

He explained this involves persons being consulted, the history of the diocese is looked at, a Commission in Rome “sits on it”. Particularly important, Bishop Harvey said, is the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Santiago De Wit Guzmán “who is supposed to do an assessment of the situation.”

“Three names are noted, they are sent to all the bishops of the region. And on the basis of those responses the decision may be made, or a decision may be made over the heads of the bishops which is possible if one of the cardinals or the pope himself has a choice,” Bishop Harvey said.

Bishop Harvey asserted he would like to be in the diocese when the new bishop arrives “because when I came here there was no bishop. I experienced the frustrations that go with that so we will go along with the process as it unfolds and I hope that those who have the opportunity to make a contribution to that process will do so in good faith,” Bishop Harvey said.

He reminded faithful that the Bishop that God wants may not be the man they like. “It’s not a question of liking somebody, it’s a question of looking at the situation and deciding who has the qualities needed to guide the Church into the future, and that is not easy to discern.”

Bishop Harvey opined the longer he stays in the diocese as bishop, the more he realises how difficult it’s going to be for his successor.

He then urged all to pray about the situation, that God will send a man after His heart, one who will understand the problems the diocese face and be able to guide and discern who among the people of Grenada, “especially if he’s not Grenadian, can be trusted advisors of the way forward for the Church.”

More than gossip

Calumny and detraction. This is how Bishop Harvey summed up further allegations that some African priests in the diocese are leaving because they are being driven out by him and that he does not like them.

“Totally false, and I want to put that to rest immediately. Anybody who carries that in their heads and spreads it doesn’t understand the facts,” Bishop Harvey said.

He commented that their brothers and sisters from various parts of Nigeria and Ghana are welcomed and were “certainly welcomed” when he was installed bishop of the diocese in 2017. Bishop Harvey explained some are leaving as they are called to do other work in their home dioceses. Some, he said, have left in the past for other reasons.

“They are bound to obedience by their bishops, not to me. And therefore, when their bishops tell them come home, they go home. And I admire the freedom in which they go.”

He continued, “If we have African priests, there are responsibilities that go with it. And people have to bear that in mind. There are one or two parishes where I cannot put a priest because we don’t have one, but the parish cannot support a priest, so all those things we have to bear in mind,” Bishop Harvey said.