Archbishop Harris: TT society driven by ethnicity and emotion
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, March 17 2013
Roman Catholic Archbishop Fr Joseph Harris yesterday lamented that the society was being driven too much by ethnicity and emotion as opposed meaningful philosophical thought.
“We have a few critical thinkers, discourse is pure emotion and when that is joined to ethnicity we have a recipe for disaster,” Harris said in a speech delivered by Vicar of the Archdiocese Monsignor Robert Llanos at a one-day symposium on improving education for boys in Trinidad and Tobago at St Mary’s College in Port-of-Spain.
“This lack of philosophy does not allow us as a nation to ask the critical questions, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ or ‘What is the purpose of private property?’”
Harris, who was supposed to deliver the opening address but did not due to illness, said because citizens do not often ask these questions “we let foreign philosophies, many of them harmful to true human development drive the developmental programmes of our nation.”
Call-in programmes and the Parliament Channel, he observed, provided excellent examples of the lack of philosophical discourse in the society.
Harris noted, though, that philosophical discourse was once the hallmark of a good Catholic education.
“It is not by chance that so many of our saints were noted for their philosophical discourse,” he said.
The Archbishop made the statement about the need for greater philosophical thought whilst reflecting on the status of Roman Catholic education in the country, which, he said, once “held its own even when compared with the education systems of the larger metropolitan countries.”
He added: “Not only did our schools produce excellent academicians, they also produced excellent men and formed good Catholics, persons capable of integrating successfully the professional and religious dimensions of their lives.”
Harris said, however, that although academic excellence was still being attained in schools, something was still lacking.
“Onlookers can no longer see any difference between our schools and those of non- denominational character,” he said.