Feuding among Catholics in Grenada ‘hurting the church’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Bishop Clyde Harvey. – File photo

FEUDING among Roman Catholics in Grenada is hurting the church and the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Castries, St Lucia, Archbishop Gabriel Malzaire, is intervening to ensure a united Christian community.

Malzaire said the Most Rev Clyde Harvey, the Trinidadian Bishop of St George’s in Grenada, who is the subject of a petition to have him removed from his post, remains in the position according to scripture and law.

He said he was open to hearing the initiator of the petition, Fr Gerard Paul, after Harvey suspended him from the priesthood, “indefinitely,” to present his arguments.

Support for the initiative is coming from Archbishop of Port of Spain Jason Gordon.

The church has clarified that Harvey did not “quit” his position, as has been reported, because of a backlash he is facing after Paul’s suspension.

Rather, the church explained, Harvey reached the mandatory age of retirement last November.

Malzaire explained in a statement, “As required by canon law, he submitted his resignation on attaining his 75th birthday. The Holy Father Pope Francis, by letter of January 2024, asked him to remain as bishop of the diocese with full duties and rights until a new bishop is chosen and duly appointed.”

Rome has given Harvey a two-year extension. He has been Bishop of Grenada since 2017.

Paul started a petition to remove Harvey after Harvey suspended him via a letter dated April 20.

Last weekend, mediators said “an agreement” had been reached to “promote harmony in the Catholic Church in Grenada.”

That truce was broken when Paul, according to reports, defied Harvey’s ruling and continued to preach in the parish of River Sallee, Grenada. It was after mass at this parish last Sunday, over which Paul presided, that he started a petition to have Harvey unseated.

Malzaire made it clear, “The removal of a bishop must follow due process.”

Until Harvey’s action is revoked or lawfully overturned, he said, it stands and “should be respected and followed.”

Initial reports suggested Paul was suspended for his criticism from the pulpit of Harvey and the church hierarchy on their silence over what he called Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

Harvey later clarified that Paul was suspended over lack of respect for the church. He said Paul’s pronouncements often strayed from the truth.

At the Antilles Episcopal Conference, which is now taking place and which Gordon is attending, the leadership of the Province of Castries, Antilles Episcopal Conference, headed by Malzaire, said it was deeply saddened by the situation unfolding in Grenada and the continued public display of disregard for leadership and the policies and processes of the church.

Malzaire in his statement, said the series of “errant actions” had brought disrepute and immeasurable hurt to the church, and it had become necessary for the leadership to intervene and take action in accordance with the right order of the church.

He urged all the faithful in the diocese of St George’s in Grenada to join in fervent prayer for their bishop and clergy “that the present tension…may soon give way to a stronger, united Christian community at the service of God’s people in Grenada.”

Gordon, in a Facebook post, said he stood in solidarity with the leadership of the episcopal conference and supported Malzaire’s intervention and his decision to uphold Harvey’s instruction.

He said, “I continue to pray for all the people of God in Grenada and for a peaceful resolution by all parties involved, in the spirit of brotherly love and grace.”