Skip to comments.Thwaites’ ban for unity of the church – Archbishop
Posted on 07/22/2007 5:14:24 AM PDT by siunevada
ARCHBISHOP Lawrence Burke says his decision to ban Deacon Ronnie Thwaites from the pulpits of the Roman Catholic Church is grounded in his belief that politics and ministry do not mix if the church is to remain united.
It is for the unity of the church, Archbishop Lawrence told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday. He also pointed to the association of politicians with criminal elements as a reason for keeping active politicians out of the pulpits
Said Burke: I think the perception is that many of these politicians are not in charge of whats going on in their constituencies. Look at all the murders that are going on.
He added: There is a perception that politicians are involved with gunmen and so forth. I am sure that Deacon Thwaites would avoid any of that, but sometimes the impression that people have is that some of the things are out of control.
The archbishop says the ban was not influenced by the fact that Deacon Thwaites was running in a garrison constituency.
Deacon Thwaites, the Peoples National Party (PNP) candidate for Central Kingston, was told by Archbishop Burke via a letter that he would no longer be allowed to preach if he remained in active politics.
Asked on Friday if he agreed with the archbishops decision to bar him from the pulpit, Deacon Thwaites commented:
When you are ordained in the Catholic Church you make a promise of obedience to the bishop, no matter how much you disagree with him. Deacon Thwaites can make his way back to the pulpit if he changes his mind and refuses to get nominated as a candidate on August 7, or if he loses the PNP garrison to the Jamaica Labour Partys Dr. Charlton Collie on election day, August 27.
This is Deacon Thwaites second attempt to enter active politics. He first ran on the PNPs ticket for the same constituency in 1997, Deacon Thwaites said that then Archbishop, Edgerton Clarke, had no problems with him mixing politics and religion.
However, Archbishop Burke, who came to Jamaica from The Bahamas, says the perception that people have of politicians was important in the decision he made.
Right to vote
Someone should not come in the church and feel that someone who is a partisan politician is preaching at them. Everybody should feel comfortable in the church. At the same time, every priest, every deacon, every lay person has a right to vote for who they think and for their party, but we have to keep that out of the pulpits and out of the public exercise of their duties, the archbishop tells The Sunday Gleaner.
Deacon Thwaites is a deacon of good standing in the church. He is a very smart guy, he is committed to Jamaica and he feels very strongly that he is called to carry out the ministry that he is going into representational politics.
I wrote to him and told him that I understand, that I have no problem with that. The only thing is that we have to keep clear the roles of someone who is ministering in a church and a political person. In Jamaica, the type of politics that we have is so divisive and tribal, and this does not help the unity of the church.
This is why he was asked that while he is acting in that capacity, for which he feels very strongly, for the unity of the church, he should step down and not be active as a deacon until this phase passes, he adds.
Our politicians seem more likely to be associated with financial criminals rather than murderers.
Nice response from the deacon. No whining.
I know nothing about Jamaican politics. But I’m thinking I wouldn’t vote for the People’s National Party.
This is in accordance with John Paul II’s Papal directive in 1980 telling Drinan, McLaughlin and Cornell to choose either their vocation or politics as well as Canon Law.
§2 They are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions unless, in the judgement of the competent ecclesiastical authority, this is required for the defence of the rights of the Church or to promote the common good.
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