The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Saint Lucia, Robert Rivas, is seeking a meeting with local Rastafarian leaders after Sunday’s arson attack against the Pierrot Catholic Church at Vieux Fort.
A dreadlock sporting man hurled Molotov cocktails at a statue outside the church and was later held by parishioners as he entered the building with other incendiary devices.
Rivas told a news conference Monday that the church would be sympathetic towards the individual if he is truly mentally deranged.
He said he would wish that the suspect would get help and be willing to take his medication if that is part of the problem and be on the mend.
However the Catholic Church official noted that the incident constituted a crime and that also has to be addressed.
“We wouldn’t like a repetition of it in the future,” Rivas stated.
He said that unfortunately too many such incidents involving the Catholic church have occurred.
“Unfortunately each time we are identifying the same type of people or set of people who are perpetrating the crime, so maybe it’s time for the authorities to meet,” Rivas said.
“I would be very happy to meet – I don’t know who the leader of the Rastafarian movement is here in Saint Lucia, but because some of the crime has been identified with this group against the church, I would be very willing with my Vicar General and whoever else would be needed to meet, sit down and discuss this with my brother leaders in the Rastafarian movement here,” he told Monday’s news conference.
Rivas indicated that the objective would be to work towards a peaceful resolution and a peaceful co-existence.
He said he is sure that some of the members of the Rastafarian movement in Saint Lucia were probably once Catholics or Christians, but have now found another way of turning to their God.
“I have no quarrel with them. I would respect them for their faith, but they must also respect Christians and Catholic Christians for our faith and we should be able to live together,” Rivas declared.