Roman Catholic (RC) Archbishop Joseph Harris is calling on citizens to resist moves to accept homosexuality. He is the latest religious leader to speak out against what he described as society's increasing acceptance of same-sex relationships. His comments come in the wake of the government's new national gender policy, which promises to promote fairness and equality among citizens.
"We are copycats in T&T. We look at the US and what they do and want to do it too. But one of the things nobody thinks about is structure and the importance of it," Archbishop Harris said. "If we facilitate sinful structures, which are against God's law, we are teaching our young people that it's okay to lead a sinful life. We must turn back to God."
Harris was speaking yesterday during an interview with the T&T Guardian, at a family day hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of T&T at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. On Friday, several faith- and community-based groups opposed to the national gender policy held a press conference to address the issue. The religious groups believe the proposed gender policy seeks to redefine the term gender and will pave the way to legalise same-sex relationships and abortion.
Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Verna St Rose-Greaves has voiced her support for gay rights and abortion. Harris said while he is not against homosexuals, he is against the act, which he described as sinful. "Our church teaches you to love the sinner but hate the sin. The world has progressed in all sorts of ways. Men have gone to the moon. But now people have begun to think that we can do without God. That is the problem, we cannot do without God."
Harris warned that T&T would be going down "a dangerous path" if same-sex marriages were made legal. While acknowledging that the RC church needs to play a more integral role in promoting moral and spiritual values, Harris said serious dialogue with the government is necessary to address social ills. "We are not going to get rid of crime just like that. We must begin with education in which the sacredness of the human person is taught.
"Too many young people are leaving school illiterate. These youths have an inferiority complex, so if the gang leaders are the ones bigging them up, who will they follow?" Earlier, in delivering his sermon, the Archbishop encouraged the congregation to lead Christlike lives and be an example to others.
"It is against this background of the heroes of our faith who never misrepresented Christ that we seek to revive and to celebrate this year, the 50th of our independence...We make Christ truly present amongst our people. We all experience Christ's saving presence and love."
The concert, which began at 10 am, was a family affair and thousands braved heavy rain to attend. Activities for children, such as bouncy castles and face painting, as well as food and drink, were also available. The crowd was treated to performances by the Malick Folk Performers and The Love Movement, among others. The event, Make a Joyful Noise, was part of a series of concerts hosted by the local RC church, which began in April.