(The following article was submitted for publication by a guest contributor. The views expressed are not necessarily those of Patrick E. Jones or Belize Media Group. Viewers/Readers comments are welcome.)
Please permit me to offer a brief commentary on the much-publicized letter from the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church Reverend Dorrick Wright banning certain organizations from your schools.
First off, I start from the position that I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church; but I am a Christian.
Sir, – Mr. Bishop Wright – I believe that you have taken the wrong approach to the whole situation.
If the ban on these organizations is based on the supposed promotion of things that are contrary to your church’s Biblical standards, shouldn’t you have taken a Biblical approach to dealing with it?
I believe that the Bible says that if a brother or a sister is found to have sinned, the church should do all it can to bring that person to repentance.
This I interpret to mean, in the literal sense, dialogue. Talking to the person, understanding the root of their error and using the Holy Spirit to convict them of their wrong and trust the saving grace of God to bring them to Salvation.
Imposing a ban on these organizations which you have judged to be so sinful, sir, in my humble opinion is in itself an error by our church.
I say your church, because the Roman Catholic Church I have heard of and ready about, under the leadership of Pope Francis, is not banning organizations of people; it is not turning anyone away, least of all not the sinners who need Jesus.
While you do have legitimate concerns for the moral and spiritual well-being of the body of Christ, if not the Roman Catholic Church, slamming the door shut on “sinners” according to your judgment, and I remind you what the Good Book says about people who judge, is an ill-advised move.
Pope Francis is working diligently to unite the Church, and as the Pope’s representative in Belize, your actions, Bishop Wright can be seen as having the opposite effect.
The Bible’s approach to sin and sinners is completely different from the approach you have taken, as your directive appears to have the singular effect of taking the country of Belize back into the Stone Age.
I do hope that you are not of the mistaken view that things like HIV/AIDS, abortions, homosexuality will go away by you waving your magic wand.
For, if, for arguments sake the so-called edict (aka ban) that you impose on these organizations from your schools is allowed to go ahead, what is your church’s plan to deal with these very troubling issues?
Will Bishop Wright’s church help victims of HIV/AIDS? Will Bishop Wright’s church provide counseling for families of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS? Can Bishop Wright’s church support pregnant teenage girls in difficult circumstances?
These are important questions to consider, Bishop Wright. Why are you putting a proverbial stone before the people to cause them to stumble? I don’t think I have to detail what the gospel says about people who cause the children of God to stumble and fall into sin.
In my humble opinion, perhaps the Roman Catholic Church in Belize should humble itself and invite the “sinner” organizations to a dialogue. Then point out the error of their ways and invite them to turn from the sins. Isn’t this what the Bible says, and the very essence of the Great Commission? Doesn’t the Bible talk about forgiveness, something like 70 times 7?
All the points put forward by you, Bishop Wright, are valid.
They are not new, nor are they unique to Belize.
These are issues that have been confronting human kind since the day Adam committed the first sin in the Garden of Eden.
Why else would the Bible, which is God’s guidelines for mankind’s living, have included verses after verses about these issues?
Moreover, I do not recall any of the prophets or men of God in the Bible, using the Word of God, to beat anyone over the head about their shortcomings and sinfulness.
Instead, bringing sinners to repentance is demonstrated time and time again in the Bible through love, and dialogue and prayer and an unending preaching of the Good News.
Jesus himself brought sinners to repentance, not by banning anyone, but by dialoguing with them. One poignant instance that comes to mind is the woman at the well.
The Church has a crucial role to play in the development of our society. I believe that inclusion, not exclusion, is by far the better way to help an ailing society.
All is not lost. There is still time to turn this thing around.
Talking will help.
Are you ready to talk, Bishop Dorrick Wright?
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