Vicar says Church failing Ja

Not enough done to stop crime

At least one noted Jamaican religious leader has given the Church failing grades for its response to crime and other social issues in 2005.

According to Monsignor Richard Albert, Episcopal Vicar of St. Catherine, the Church has failed in several respects.

“I don’t think the Church exercised its prophetic role in challenging the powers of the private sector and Government,” he said.

Adding that the church did not play its role in transforming injustices. He also told The Gleaner that the institution had not done adequately for the poor, downtrodden and the marginalised.

But, Bishop Herro Blair, pastor of the Deliverance Centre, was conservative in his analysis.

According to him, the Church has done its best to accomplish its goal and continues to do so. He noted that it has been performing its role in delivering spiritual and counselling programmes.

Describing the Church as the pillar of the nation, Bishop Blair said many people had the wrong impression of the church as they believed it is the responsibility of the church to solve crime.

He said the religious leaders should be watchdogs of the nation, but very often their voices are not heard.

George Scott, president of the Christian Ministries Network was critical of the Church’s performance for 2005.

“As a team, we can do more because the wealth in the Church is similar to the wealth in our society where it is unevenly distributed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pauline Pyne, a resident of Rollington Town, Kingston, believes the Church should play a more visible role in inner-city communities that are plagued by crime.

“Same as how the dons are being held up in the communities as providing and sending the children to schools, why can’t the Church be held up?” she asked.

She continued: “If the Church was playing the role as the dons, I think the crime rate would be down.”

At the same time, Byng Angus, a member of Family Church on the Rock in St. Andrew, is contending that had it not been for the Church, social issues would have been worst.

In the meantime, Monsignor Albert hopes the church will become more active in 2006.

“We can’t just be satisfied with just operating schools and training centres,” he said.

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