The Roman Catholic Church has launched an anti-violence campaign which focuses on getting would-be criminals to think of their own bodies when they contemplate engaging in criminal activity.
The cleric behind the My Body, Temple of the Holy Spirit, I celebrate campaign, Father Clement Paul, said the church had been trying to get people to respect themselves by celebrating and respecting others.
Paul said two recent killings – that of 38-year-old Pauline Clarke who was gunned down in her car in the presence of her daughter, shortly after leaving the gym, and Donason Husbands who was shot after disembarking the MV Dream Chaser after attending a cruise – had prompted him to launch the initiative.
“I felt the need to get people to celebrate and respect their bodies as something more than just flesh and blood. We have been making all sorts of gestures to get people to be more respectful of each other and what precipitated this is the continuing violence that takes place from time to time,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“I was very disgusted recently when within 24 hours a mother gets gunned down in front of her daughter and people gossiping about it instead of sympathies and care and concern
. . . . In less than 24 hours a man coming from a cruise was shot as well, and again that disturbs me and I thought these are not just human beings who are shot but the human beings who are doing this to human beings. So somewhere along the lines, people are not conscious anymore of the importance of the human person,” he added.
The Catholic priest suggested that the authorities were “putting plasters on sores” instead of finding solutions to the crime problem facing the country.
He said the church needed to have its own voice heard, and the campaign was its way of making it clear that it was concerned about the level of violence.
“This is the Catholic Church’s voice on the present violence that is taking place. We have become a nation who just continue to put plasters on the sores. We need to be able to know how we can heal and how we can put positive approaches to some of the sores around,” he said.
“We are making an official statement saying to people, look at your bodies as something to celebrate not things to be used and abused and beaten up and shot at. We want . . . to come and tell the people the church does not kill your joy. This is no killjoy campaign, this is a positive approach to the celebrations and we are hoping that through that medium we will get people to see that when you shoot at somebody, or when you stab up somebody or rape somebody or even when you eye rape somebody, what you are doing is not celebrating your body, you are damaging it. In doing so you are damaging yourself as well,” the cleric explained.
Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith reported this week that crime remained at a “manageable level”, with an overall 4.3 per cent decline between January and June this year when compared to the same period last year.
However, he said lawmen remained concerned about the increasing use of firearms and the fact that criminals were becoming more brazen and openly shooting their targets.