By Kaelanne Jordan firstname.lastname@example.org
The passage of the Unexplained Wealth Bill 2019 in Parliament Monday, April 9 was a “wonderful” example of how the business of Trinidad and Tobago should be operated.
So said Archbishop Jason Gordon during Catholic Media Services Limited’s (CAMSEL) Ask the Archbishop live chat last Wednesday. The chat was live streamed on the Archdiocese of Port of Spain’s Facebook page and on Instagram via catholictt.
The Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of the Civil Asset Recovery and Management Agency for the recovery of criminal property accrued by criminal activity.
Archbishop Gordon told CAMSEL’s Digital Media Manager Tracy Chimming-Lewis that the Bill is not just for the ‘guy on the block’ but for businessmen, “persons who claim to be in business and you can’t find customers in the shop” and “all kinds of people”.
“This I would say is a very serious attempt at dealing with the problem of crime in the country because until we can deal with the wealth that is being generated, we can’t deal with anything else,” he said. To this end, the Archbishop added that he “likes” the Bill and “loves” the fact that the two sides of the House, the Government and the Opposition, worked hard until they got to a place to say ‘Yes’.
Focusing on Church matters, the question of how important the Easter collection for clergy was addressed. He explained that funding for clergy comes from two “big” collections in the year—Easter and Christmas. This, Archbishop Gordon said, is dedicated to educating priests, paying stipends, ensuring they are fed properly, medical bills and for sick and retired priests.
“The Church has to care for priests right through and that’s our responsibility. It’s our duty but it’s our joy…” he said.
Responding to a question related to youth and absence in the Church he said “We can’t be playing dolly house Church…we need a real Church because this generation, they want it real. We need real discipleship, real sacrifice, real giving of yourself, real impact to real people in need.”
Asked to give an update on the “hospitality initiative”, one of three areas of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan the Archbishop shared that feedback from the first phase of building capacity has been very good. Attention will also be on homilies and hymns.
Of the latter, the Archbishop observed that not all Church music is rocking the soul of Catholics. “In big parishes, I think we need to understand what will rock the soul of an older Catholic is not going to touch at all or reverberate with a younger Catholic and we have to think in this language of reverberation.”
Archbishop Gordon suggested Masses that cater for the different cultural groups in the parishes, adding that these groups require a “different vibe” to reverberate their soul. Likewise, with homilies, parishes ought to look at how they meet the spiritual needs of the people who are entering the Church.
“So this first phase is cleaning up the house, cause what we’re after is a Sunday experience…that people get the experience that they can look forward to, that they can count on, that is of a high quality and is repeatable every time you go. That’s what we’re aiming at,” the Archbishop said.