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Bishop Harvey suspends priest

Fr Gerard Paul of the Parish of the Holy Family, River Sallee, Grenada has been suspended from all priestly ministry indefinitely, effective April 4, according to an April 6 statement from Bishop Clyde Harvey of St George’s-in-Grenada.

The Bishop outlined that the suspension is not due to what Fr Paul said on March 27, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St George’s and subsequent statements made on various media platforms in which he accused the Church of not condemning the situation in Gaza. Fr Paul said at a recent clergy retreat, Gaza was neither even mentioned nor addressed.

The suspension was effected because of Fr Paul’s “persistent” attacks on the Catholic Church and its leadership, his misleading claims that the Church has done nothing in this and other situations, and Fr Paul’s “persistent pattern of behaviour” which he seeks to justify with “no intention to change.”

His statements “have confused, harmed, and scandalised many faith-filled persons. They have brought his fellow clergy into disrepute,” Bishop Harvey said.

All faculties for the ministry granted to Fr Paul upon ordination as a priest of the diocese are temporarily withdrawn and he will no longer serve as parish priest in River Sallee.

He will not be able to preside at the sacred rites of the Church, i.e., Masses, funerals, weddings, baptisms, etc, the statement said.

Bishop Harvey stated that he has asked Fr Paul to seek the help he needs in a manner that will enable him to consider returning to ministry.

Describing the events as a sad and challenging time for the diocese, Bishop Harvey emphasised that it is not a conflict between a bishop and a priest. It is, he said, a culmination of a “long-standing” pattern of harm to individuals and the diocese which “must stop”.

The Church, Bishop Harvey underscored, has clear expectations and protections for the People of God, enshrined in the Code of Conduct and the ordinary teaching of popes and bishops.

“When Fr Paul said, ‘I have no regrets and I will do it again,’ he put himself beyond review and fraternal correction. No institution can survive when such attitudes and actions are adopted,” the Bishop said.

He added that young people are led astray when they are shown by persons with official authority that such authority can be easily dishonoured with impunity. —KJ