ROMAN Catholic Archbishop Jason Gordon yesterday called into focus the deaths of two suspects in the Andrea Bharatt murder case while in police custody, as he warned against society creating “untouchables” who can then be killed and no one asks a question.
The Archbishop has further asserted that no one is “guilty” until such is proven by a court, as he also noted a strong call by citizens that the Government resume hangings as a deterrent to crime.
Gordon raised the issue during Sunday morning mass.
He did not name either the dead suspects or Bharatt, whose kidnap and murder has for the past fortnight taken the nation on an emotional rollercoaster.
However, after reading the story of the “untouchable” leper who was touched and cured by Jesus, Gordon turned to the tendency of societies to create “pariahs” who are robbed of human dignity— which places the soul of a country in “peril”.
As he warned Trinidad and Tobago against this, the Archbishop stated: “I am sure that in Heaven is the leper, thanking God all now so and praising God to the highest heavens and saying to himself, you know, if I was that kind of unclean person in Trinidad, you know, I might have gone into a police station and fallen off a chair or something. Something like that might have happened to me because they would have considered me with such little regard that they might have just killed me and nobody might ask a question, anymore.”
The Archbishop also expressed his own anger at the “despicable” crimes being committed against the women of Trinidad and Tobago.
Treatment of the ‘unclean’
Gordon said every society “sets up this notion of clean and unclean”, who are “socially excluded people...people who don’t count”.
“People who, if they are in a society, the society makes them into pariahs, people who are of no standing and of no care and consideration, whatsoever,” Gordon said.
He continued: “We do something in a society when we decide that a person has done certain things, we do something in a society when we say that person has no dignity anymore and therefore whatever happens to him, he deserves it.”
The Archbishop said it kills the soul of a society “whenever we don’t care anymore about the unclean and the treatment of the unclean that happens”.
He also stated: “We do something to the soul of a country when we start to call for hanging because of heinous crime.”
Gordon commented on crimes against women in T&T, as he recalled in the gospel that Jesus had become “angry” when he saw man living in a state that was less than what God intended for him.
“What we have lived through in the last couple of weeks is gut-wrenching and I understand why Jesus is angry,” Gordon said.
“I, too, am angry at the kinds of crimes that have happened against women in society. It’s terrible, it’s unforgivable, it’s despicable...that we should live in a society like this, it is.”
However, he added: “But I am also angry that things like this can happen in our society and no one...no one raises a voice. As if something just is normal. It’s normal people could fall off chairs. I think we have to wake up as a society and see that when we brand people as unclean and we make them into pariahs, and then we rob them of being a human being and we start to use words on them, as if somehow they are less than human, that we turn our soul into peril.”