Monday, February 24, 2014

The bishop of “Les Cayes”, Chibly Langlois officially inducted cardinal

Available in French Version / Creole Version
A historical review of the implementation of Catholicism in Haiti
The new cardinal of Haïti, Chibly Langlois
Haiti , the second country after the United States to win its independence and had been at the forefront of anti-slavery and anti-colonial movements in the Western Hemisphere , is finally represented by its own cardinal in the consistory of the Vatican. A large Haitian delegation including the head of the Haitian State Michel Martelly, the President of the Senate Simon Desras , the authorities of the Catholic Church , politicians , relatives and friends of the new cardinal attended the enthronement which had taken place on Saturday February 22, 2014 at the Vatican. It’s a Historic day itself, after about 154 years of the presence of the Catholic Church in Haiti. The elevation of the Eminence Chibly Langlois made ​​ Haitians all abroad very proud, this pride is extending from Haiti into the Haitian diaspora.
Then, it is  an opportunity for us to highlight a historical review of the establishment of the Catholicism in Haiti throughout its journey that led to the cardinalate of Chibbly Langlois.
The explorer Christopher Columbus on his arrival at Hispaniola
Môle Saint Nicolas , historical junction of the "discovery" of the Caribbean on December 5th, 1492 is the first corner of Haiti who knew the sign of Christianity when  Christopher Colombus planted the cross, symbolizing the introduction of the Roman Catholic religion on the island. This discovery also marked the beginning of the colonization of America by the Europeans, which mission was made Columbus in the wake, a major player of the  great discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and one of the greatest sailors of all time.

We can write without fear of contradiction that the era of Christianity, the religion of the followers of Jesus Christ, has emerged in Haiti during the discovery of Columbus, in the Saint-Nicolas day, on  December 6, 1492,  when he landed with his men for the first time in the island then he named " Hispaniola " because of the resemblance of certain landscapes with Spain.

Concordat and the Memorandum of Agreement with the Holy See
The Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis during
 the enthronement
 of Mgr.  Langlois .                                     
The history of the Concordat in Haiti goes back to the government of Jean-Pierre-Boyer, who came to power on March 29, 1818. Three years later , He politically and militarily united the two states of the island into one, without synchronizing or eliminating some thorny issues related to culture and ethnicity of the two groups of people inhabiting the island which were not  homogeneous. As the seat of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo led by Bishop  Mgr. Pedro Valera y Jiménez ,  who expressed vigorously his distaste against the new Haitian regime and had rejected the request from Boyer to transfer the seat of the Archdiocese to Port-au -Prince, in his refusal not to comply with this request later earned him exile. The relation of the government of Boyer would further deteriorate with the Catholic Religion then would later cause the overthrow of Boyer and the separation pf the two States in 1843.

In Haiti, the concordat of 1860  was adopted by President Nicolas Fabre  Geffrard  May 10, 1860, and the Senate approved it on  August 1st of the same year.It was, however, not accepted or applauded by all Haitians for some reasons...

Cardinal Langlois receiving his certificate from Pope Francis
The Concordat of 1860 remained in full force until 1983, when President Jean-Claude Duvalier, was delivering a speech to welcome  Pope John Paul II during his visit in Haiti on March 9, 1982 ,had announced his intention to waive his rights concerning the treaty of 1860 to appoint bishops. Articles 4 and 5 were modified and the Memorandum of agreement dated August 8, 1984, then was  into effect. We must also noted that there was a prior agreement signed between the Holy See and the government of François Duvalier in 1966 after the vigorous reaction of the Vatican threatened to excommunicate the Haitian dictator Papa Doc , following the expulsion of two archbishops of Port -au- Prince : Mgr François Poirier and his successor ad interim , Augustin Remy,the first Haitian ordained Bishop.

Other expulsions took place under Duvalier regime, like the director of the "Petit Séminaire Collège Saint Martial", Father Etienne Grienenberger, August 17, 1959.

Organization of the Church in Haiti
The new haitian Cardinal  is greeting by the emeritus pope
The Catholic Church in Haiti is organized from  October 3, 1861 , by the erection of the Archidiocèse of Port-au-Prince and the dioceses of  Cap-Haïtien, Cayes, Gonaïves and Port-de-Paix , which was depended prior to the creation of a cardinal in Haiti to the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo  for the whole island of Hispaniola.

Since 2008, the Haitian church has ten dioceses with two ecclesiastical provinces seats respectively for Port -au- Prince and Cap-Haïtien. Each of these provinces, at its head, a Metropolitan Archbishop who is both bishop of his own diocese but also the first bishop of the province, and the coordinator of the work of the suffragan bishop ( also called diocesan bishop dependent of the metropolitan seat). 
Video of the Haitian delegation to the inauguration of Cardinal Langlois

The Church and the Government of Duvalier
President  Michel Martelly posing with
the new Cardinal Chibly Langlois. 
Came to power in 1957 following the elections of September 22, François Duvalier, has faced attacks and criticisms of the opponents of his regime in the early years of his presidency. Among those oponents, the Catholic bishops and superiors of some influential and affluent congregations as the Jesuits and  the Spiritans.

The decapitation of the Church due to the forced exile of the majority of bishops was a severe response of Duvalier. A reaction that tarnishes the Haitian government relations with the Holy See. In December 1965, Duvalier and the Holy See began negotiations for the reinvigoration of the Catholic Church in Haiti. The Concordat of 1860  remained in force, but a protocol was signed on  August 15, 1966 in Port -au- Prince, putting virtually an end to tensions in recent years.
Président Martelly,  Cardinal Langlois et Sénateur Desras
Duvalier had tried to keep the few advantages that the Haitian government obtained from the Concordat of 1860, which privilege entitling the Haitian government to appoint its bishops: Five Haitian Bishops were appointed and the first Haitian Bishop, then in exile, was allowed to return in Haiti. The Holy See obtained from the government's promise:  “a special protection to the Catholic Religion Apostolic Roman clergy including all his ministers with full freedom to exercise their sacerdotal duty"  and the withdrawal of the expulsion of Bishop Poirier.

Baby Doc abandons the privilege of appointing bishops ...
However in 1983, during the visit to Haiti of Pope Jean-Paul II, Jean Claude Duvalier renounced to this privilege  obtained by his father. This symbolic decision did not make any differences to the ecclesiastical level since the same policy of indigenization of Catholic clergy was current and accepted worldwide, then the government was no longer has the discretion to appoint bishops based  upon their political creed as Papa Doc  had wanted.
Cardinals in the government of the Church :

Originally, the cardinals in the Church of Rome assumed  the responsibility of a parish (called titubura ) that was used in some way , as a pivot ( Latin, cardo , cardinis = hinge ) to the life of the community . The Cardinals are the first collaborators of the Pope. Since the twelfth century , some are chosen out of Rome. This is the case for most of them now , even if they are scaterred, they all are  attached to a parish church in Rome.

The Cardinals are constituted  as a  College of Cardinals  which is divided into three levels described by canon 350 : the episcopal order , the priestly order, and the diaconal order. The names of these orders, from their story is not representative in according of the type of the sacrament of ordination received by their Member :

1 . The episcopal order , consisting of six cardinal bishops (including Cardinal Dean and Vice Dean, elected by their peers ; canon 352) , they are attached to a diocese suburbicarian ( Ostia, Velletri - Segni , Porto- Santa Rufina, Frascati , Palestrina, Albano , Sabina ) they no longer have the power of jurisdiction.

2 . The priestly order , consisting of cardinal priests , they are more numerous, they are attached to a church in Rome and its title.

3 . The deacons , composed of cardinals deacons whose cardinal proto -deacon , they are attached to a church deacon . Found in this order members who hold offices in the Curia or exempted from the diaconate .

Let’s remember that the Cardinals are bishops or priests at least , freely chosen by the Pope (canon 351.1 ) , it creates by publishing a decree before the College of Cardinals (canon 351.2 ) , the elected thereby become cardinal all the rights and duty which are attached to this function unless it is established in petto (canon 351.3 ) , in this case , he must wait for his public appointment.

Role of the College of Cardinals
Canon 349 defines the function of the College of Cardinals :
• In case of vacancy of the Apostolic Pope See( sede vacante ), the College of Cardinals is acting  by interim,  is conducting the election of the pope during the conclave by the cardinal electors ( under 80 years).
• The College of Cardinals (sede plena) is an advisory body to the service of the Pope. Canon 353.1 states that meets presbyteries of two kinds: ordinary or extraordinary:
• The ordinary consistory for serious ( but common ) or solemn affairs can take place with the  cardinals present in Rome , it may be public.

 The extraordinary consistory for " big business importances " , all the Cardinals are summoned to an extraordinary consistory (canon 353.3 ) as an advisory body and cannot be public.
• Individual Functions Cardinals
• Individually, the Cardinals are assisting the Pope " in the daily care of the whole Church " (canon 349). First  , there is Cardinals prefect  in charge of Congregations or presidents of other institutions, the age limit of their function is 75 years (canon 354 ; Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus is 5. ) . Other Cardinals are simply members of Congregations they cease their functions when they reach 80 years (Pastor Bonus is 3.1; . 5.2). All these cardinals necessarily staying in Rome, they are called the " curia Cardinals ." Finally there is some Cardinals for special assignments by the pope they represent. They are often called " special envoy " or " legate laetare ."
• What about the relationship between the College of Cardinals and the synod of bishops? It is the Pope who decides on the assembly for the treatment of a question, choices can be influenced first by a practical reason: the College of Cardinals may be convened as quickly and discreetly as a Synod of Bishops.

150 years of presence of the Brothers of Christian Instruction (FIC) Frères Instruction Chrétienne) in Haiti

We must say that the Catholic Church has exercised its influence in Haiti in various fields especially in Education.This education is provided by various religious or congregational religious orders. According to historical notes relating to the progress of the Catholic Church in Haiti for about 150 years, the presence of the Brothers of Christian Instruction was a known vector of this education through private schools known for the quality of training they transmit.

And we dare even say that generations of young people have benefited it greatly.

It was in 1864, shortly after the signing of the Concordat, when began officially the first religion in Haiti. At this time, it was youth volunteers aged around 16 and 18 years who have decided to leave their native land, France, spending sometimes two to three months at the sea before arriving in Haiti. No ways of communication, separated from their families, these young people left with the idea that they are going for life. Sometimes, shortly after their arrival in Haiti, some of them  died of yellow fever, by lack of food or the problem of acclimatization.

The 150 years of work of these courageous educators have contributed to the education of generations of Haitians, at the risk of repeating ourselves. "This is a hard legacy for us Haitians to manage. We have a responsibility to maintain the reputation of quality delivered by the FIC or (Brothers of Christian Instruction) in regard to the education imparted in our various schools. "

We must therefore admit that the Brothers of Christian Instruction had a remarkable record in Haiti in the field of education. "The 150 years of presence and their missionary activities also contributed to the development of the Church in Haiti, to arrive at a Church that can run by itself today with his cardinal in his head.

The elevation of Mgr Langlois to the rank of Cardinal

We welcome with great satisfaction the designation by Pope Francis of Bishop Chibly Longlois of “Les Cayes”, to the rank of Cardinal to the Holy See. This is the first time in the history of the Church, since the concordat of 1860 signed between the Haitian government  and the Universal Church, we have the privilege to enjoy such honor. It should also be noted that the Holy See was the first state to recognize the State of Haiti after its Independance

The elevation of Mgr Langlois as Cardinal is welcomed as a blessing for Haiti in a time when Cardinal Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez of Dominican Republic is the catalyst for a sentence of striking statelessness over 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent, a measure rejected by the international community. There is no doubt that Haiti will now find a balance and a degree of independence on the island at the two Roman Catholic religious institutions existing on either side of the border.

According to Father Hans Alexander , the Permanent Secretary of the Epicospal Conference, contacted by Radio Kiskeya when the news broke out  declared why Mgr Langlois climbed to this high office and we quote “ Mgr Langlois  was honored for his commitment to the mission of the church and the teaching of catechism . "

Other observers believe that the nomination of Cardinal in Haiti is primarily a political reaction from the Vatican as to show support for the Haitian people in regard to the xenophobic tendencies of the Dominican Republic against Dominicans of Haitian descent. It may also be a strategic choice of a pope who realize that Catholicism is losing its grip on Haiti for the benefit of other religious movements younger and more dynamic .

What about the cleavage in the Haitian Church seems to have existed after the departure of Baby Doc Duvalier? Cleavage which gave rise to this small sector of the Church known as "Ti legliz " , some of whom are well known as followers of the theology of liberation, an ideology that seems to have lost its feathers with the passage of time. Will there be a significant connection between this group and the traditional sector of  the Church represented by the new cardinal? The Political dialogue " “interhaitian " undertaken under the auspices of Langlois , President of the Episcopal Conference, can we expect a chance to see a happy ending  when the Lavalas, movement born precisely from “Ti Legliz”  has left the table of this dialogue.

We must with this designation, in our opinion, think higher, stronger. Have reason to hope that Haiti, country stunted, bruised, debased, is and will be the true light that will guide the nations, as when it was aligning  in the time alongside the nations who fought for freedom. Welcome - the creation of Langlois as cardinal - a church dedicated to serving Rome and faithful Haitian, let us turn to a promising new horizon opens before our eyes.

In this difficult and turbulent period through Haiti,  the cardinalate of Langlois  is perhaps a chance and a hope for our country as well as the recent election of Dany Laferrière in the " Immortals" at the French Academy, a real hope for our country.

We can’t stop express our joy by letting rise in our soul a hymn of “Magnificat” to greet the influence of the Holy Spirit who inspired the Pope François to appoint within the College of Cardinals a member of " natif natal " of Haiti. 

--->> French Version / Creole Version

Originally written in french  by Herve Gilbert

Translation :H Gilbert

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