By Kaelanne Jordan
Archbishop Jason Gordon has commented on the viral voice recording of an abusive female teacher berating and threatening students at Tranquility Government Primary School.
He maintained that while he did not hear the recording, “ranting” and “verbally abusing” children have no place in a modern society.
“You can’t educate for character and justice if the educator has no character and no sense of justice,” the Archbishop said during last Wednesday’s Ask the Archbishop live chat.
On the other hand, the Archbishop opined that clearly, the teacher is “dealing with something” in her life that needs to be dealt with outside the classroom.
“Clearly, she needs help…That’s where I would start,” he said.
Switching to international Church affairs, the Archbishop was asked his thoughts on a recent law passed in the Australian state of Victoria that requires priests to violate the seal of confession if anything in the confession gave them reason to suspect occurrences of child abuse.
He sees the passing of this legislation as undermining the Church and ultimately, society. He explained, if a child does not believe there’s a safe space to talk about abuse, they will never talk about it.
“So, if you don’t create safe spaces, there’s no revelation until that child is a lot older which means you are not going to catch and stop it early. That means the child is going to be holding on to trauma a lot longer,” the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Gordon further added that the Church has taken the view from the very beginning that the seal of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is so important that it is a matter for which a priest will go to jail rather than breaking it.
On the issue of the Sacrament of the Reconciliation locally, one viewer posed this question for the Archbishop: “In the same way Mass times are set, is it possible to have set times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation?”.
“Excellent question…and I agree,” the Archbishop responded. He continued that this is an idea he heard before and would take to clergy for each parish to have a set time for the sacrament.
On a lighter note, the Archbishop was asked, what he is cooking up for the annual Priests Can Cook, Friday, September 27 at the Grandstand, Queen’s Park Savannah.
“You’ll see when they have ‘Bishops Can Cook’. We’ll talk about that one,” he joked.
Nevertheless, Archbishop Gordon said that Priests Can Cook is an important event as funds help some Catholic schools “into the next stage of their transformation”. Three years ago, the Archdiocese had about 20 plus schools that were failing, but “in our last count this year, there are about 10 now…and that’s where a lot of the Priests Can Cook money go towards.”
Ultimately, he urged everyone to “support, support, support”.