When the Church speaks

EDITORIAL  Catholic Standard, Guyana – 21st November 2014

In recent weeks there have been a number of calls for the religious communities to take a much more public position on various matters of state and to express their views on day-to-day social and political questions.

This shows that a growing number of people believe that religion is losing its influence in public life and feel this is not good. They see religion as the foundation stone of morality and have a desire for more religion in politics, and for some political leaders to express their faith more.

At least one writer actually singled out the Catholic Church as being as one institution that has not been as engaged in the political arena in Guyana as it used to be and as it ought to be.

In his statement last week Roman Catholic Bishop Francis Alleyne made an important point which was not carried in reports in the more widely circulated media.

We quote this section of the statement at length. “There are expectations that the ‘Church’ would give a guiding word or pronounce on issues. But the Church is the entire people of faith and not just its leaders. When believers from any faith tradition live their faith teachings in everyday life then truly the Church is speaking eloquently. When in the workplace there is diligent attention to ser-vice, and when in the family love and respect form relationships and identity and when in daily life we hold our heads high in the face of intimidation and corruption it is then that the Church speaks in volumes. There are many who are part of being Church in this way and to be highly commended…. “

So the reality is that in the public sphere a large number of people ‘speak’ for the Catholic church in different capacities and at different times.

In the Catholic Church Bishops have and authoritative role as teachers of faith, doctrine and morals, while the whole gamut of faithful Catholics - from businessmen, doctors, lawyers, teachers, policemen, soldiers and the list goes on - they too speak authoritatively, by faithfully and correctly applying Church teaching to the concrete situations in which they find themselves.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls,” states the Catechism (2032).

There can be no doubt that the polarization of our two major political parties is a major contributing factor to the present sorry state of

The response of the Catholic must always be to respond with the spirit, fearlessness and inspiration of Jesus Christ who is al-ways with us in the worst of situations and darkest of times.

In recent decades the Catholic church in Latin America has laid great emphasis on being involved in changing structures and getting to the root causes of problems.

They have been doing this with the firm conviction that the darkest of evils will one day be overcome