Bishop John Persaud has observed that the isolation from Covid-19 has brought home the “simple fact”, that although we may have access to sunlight, rain, etc., when we are starved from human contact, our growth and development as human beings are “seriously impacted”.
“In other words, whether we do not live with communion with God and with others, we are less human. From the very beginning, we human beings have sought to live in relationship with God and in community with one another. The way we have organised our lives in community is what we refer to as our social life,” Bishop Persaud explained during his talk at Saturday’s (December 8) Catholic Charismatic Renewal’s 23rd Caribbean Conference 2022.
Bishop Persaud’s talk was titled ‘The renewal of the Social Life/Social Justice’.
The Bishop of Mandeville highlighted that for many years, the Church saw itself as a “perfect society” living in the world yet separate from it.
“By perfect here we do not mean without fault or sin, but rather that it had everything it needed to exist independent of other groups or organisations. With the Second Vatican Council came reform in the way the Church viewed its relationship to the world,” he explained.
He mentioned that the promulgation of Gaudium et Spes— the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World—realises that the Church and each of us is called to live out its faith in the world, not apart from the world.
“Therefore, we must take action to ensure all people live with the dignity God has created us with,” he asserted.
Referencing Genesis 1:27: ‘Justice calls us to ensure that all life is respected with dignity as created in God’s image’, Bishop Persaud maintained that Catholic social teaching also calls all to respect the rights of all.
With rights, Bishop Persaud added, comes responsibilities. He identified specific issues that undermine the dignity of human beings from the unhuman treatment of migrants to the individualism of family life. The dignity of the poor was also underscored.
“What is your relationship with the poor? Have we just gotten used to it? Are we just saying, ‘well the poor will always be there’?”
One of “the greatest lies” told in our world today is that there is a lack of food, Bishop Persaud said. “That is a lie. There is enough food for every person in the world, and yet, many go hungry,” he said.
He continued, “The way we organise our lives socially as human beings, as Christians, we allow poverty to exist….” In this way, Bishop Persaud opined we allow some to be poor and we allow others to be rich and “we promote the lie”.
Ultimately, Bishop Persaud asserted, persons can’t begin to talk about renewing the social dimension as humans unless they renew their lives with God.
“The more we are able to immerse ourselves with our relationship with Christ Jesus, the more we will be able to understand how we need to relate with one another and all aspects of our social life,” Bishop Persaud said.