Catholic - Haiti Observer Blog

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Good Friday and Easter Sunday Special Days for Haitians of Every Faith

Haiti Easter celebration begins with Good Friday. Good Friday is a sacrosanct day for Haitians be they Catholic or Evangelical. The vast majority of the population in Haiti attends Good Friday services. Churches have certain customs they follow that differ from one congregation to the other. In local parishes, such as the Haitian Maranatha Bible Church, seven clergymen come to sermonize, each one of them on one of the last seven words Jesus spoke before he died upon the cross.

Haitian Maranatha conducts its Good Friday services in French and Creole languages. But at other churches an English translation is projected as the priest sermonizes. Easter hymns are also sung in all three languages by different-sized choirs.

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Haiti Catholic Nuns Attacked 39 Times Within 4 Months

Catholic nuns have become the primary targets of violence in Haiti since last November. There have been over 39 cases of attacks reported on from about 27 different religious outposts in six regional departments in Haiti since November 2014. The authorities are investigating to identify the real motives behind these attacks, although in most cases, the prime objective were found to be robberies of valuables other than physical violence on the nuns. It is really hard to figure out who and what is behind the attacks that seem like something more than pure robbery. There were some unconfirmed reports of rape in some occasions which often led to serious injury. So far, no one has been killed, although a traumatized nun died in surgery and another slipped into a coma after the attack. As per Cardinal Chibly Langlois's statement, since November 2014 to the present day, about 20 houses belonging to the nuns have been attacked; religious women were beaten and brutalized. Without being disturbed, looters take everything they can--money and other small valuables, papers of identification and other important documents.

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Minister Casimir Condemned Recent Attacks Against Catholics In Haiti

Recently, on March 17 2015, Pierre Richard Casimir, the Minister of Justice and Public Security (MJSP) accompanied by other important representatives and officials from the administration, held a meeting with the representatives of the Haitian Conference of Religious and condemned every attack against the religious communities in Haiti. Haitian religious congregations play a very important role in training several Haitian generations. The Haitian Religious Conference (HCR) includes 96 congregations with more than 3,000 Sisters, Brothers and Fathers of 30 different nationalities. As per recent statement by the HRC, between October 2014 to the present day, 25 Sisters residences have been attacked, some of them were repeated, including the Charismatic Renewal Center in Tabarre. Men armed with guns, spears and sticks have threatened, insulted and brutalized nuns and other religious members and robbed everything they found. Some of the victims have been hospitalized. At least 18 congregations and offices were reported to have been affected.

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Catholic Church Faces Battle to End Co-Mingling Faiths in Haiti

Chibly Langlois, appointed by Pope Francis as Haiti's first cardinal, is faced with stopping the co-mingling of Voodoo and Catholicism in Haiti. Voodoo had been Haiti's religion before the island became colonized by Catholic countries of Spain and France. On the island of 10 million, 80% practice Catholicism, but 50% indulge in the practice of Voodoo as well.

According to Langlois, Voodoo is a religion of the poor, who have no money to pay a doctor when they fall ill. So they seek the services of a Voodoo priest, who can petition Voodoo spirits for healing. Other intercessions for money and fortune-telling also take place.

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Voodoo, big social problem in Haiti, according to Cardinal Chibly Langlois

The battle for the sole of Haiti has begun once again. In an article written in, newly nominated Haitian Cardinal Chibly Langlois, said that "Voodoo won't save Haiti. Traditional faith offers no real solutions for the poor and is a big social problem".

Cardinal Chibly Langlois attributed Haiti's political problems to its belief system. "If a person is well educated and has the financial means, they will go to a doctor rather than a Houngan when they are sick. The same is true for conflicts between the population; someone would go to Court to get justice instead of going to the voodoo priest to get revenge.

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Historic day for Haiti, Mgr. Chibly Langlois, first Cardinal

On February 23, 2014, the investiture ceremony of 19 new cardinals at St. Peter's Basilica took place. Among the new cardinals, arrayed in their purple vestments and cardinal's caps, was Haiti's Mgr. Chibly Langlois, its first cardinal ever.

People began filling the Basilica as early as 8 am. The overflow crowd stayed outside in an area, where they could view the Consistory on over-sized screens. The crowd waited expectedly for the appearance of Pope Francis, who was elected to the papacy last March, and is the first pontiff from Latin America. The church organist began playing at 11 am as Pope Francis drew near. The unexpected presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI caused added to the significance of the occasion. He sat in the front row and was greeted by Pope Francis, amid applause from the congregation.

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The Voodoo Religion and the Catholic influences

The Voodoo religion is an amalgamated religion that is still widely practiced within Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora. It shares some similarities with Christianity, in that the followers believe in a creator god, Bondye, who is the originator of their lives, much as Christians believe in the almighty God. In this general aspect, Voodoo and Christianity look the same, but particulars can be drawn with the Catholic faith that can't be drawn through other Christian denominations.

Practitioners of Voodoo believe in steering their lives by managing personal bonds with Lwa via devotional objects and indulging in ceremonies of spiritual presentations. The fact that Voodoo finds its roots in Catholic Church has a chief role to play in this. They hold a belief that their God is in constant communication with the priests and not with the common person, much like the Catholic who use prayer beads and the Virgin Mary, among other things, in prayer.

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History of Haiti and the Catholic Church

The pope, the Curia in Rome and the Haitian Bishops are the spiritual leaders of the Catholic church in Haiti including nine dioceses of which two are archdioceses. In 1511 the dioceses of Saint Domingo were found and the island of Hispaniola was divided among bishoprics. Concepcion then remained the only diocese until 1862.

The first wave of evangelization was terminated by the Haitian revolution. Instability hit the territory for decades and poverty, mistreatment of slaves and a class system became the fate of the country. Haiti consequently was declared as the first black independent nation and almost all the clergy left the area after the 1804 massacre.

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Not to Share Wealth with Poor is Theft, Pope Francis

On November 27, 2013, Pope Francis, the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church has taken aim at capitalism and termed it as theft unless wealth is shared with poor. In an 84-page document, he has urged that to save the economy, the world leaders should intensify their efforts to fight against poverty and inequality.

Rich people should share their wealth with the poor. Pope Francis also warned that the present financial system supports uneven distribution of wealth; people are becoming aggressive, corrupted, and heartless. They always want to accumulate more for own. Nobody cares when a homeless aged person dies carelessly but if the stock market loses two points it becomes a sensational news.

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Mgr Langlois Chibly, New Haitian Cardinal

Here is the new Haitian Cardinal, Mgr Langlois Chibly. He was nominated by Pope Francis on January 12, 2014.

Monseigneur Langlois Chibly is 55 year old who was born in the Valley of Jacmel.

He was ordained priest in 1991 and by 2004, he was appointed Bishop in the city of Fort-Liberte. He then moved to Les Cayes to bicome the Bishop there.

Politically, Monseigneur Chibly was expected to take part in the dialogue between President Michel Martelly and the opposition to find a solution to the current political crisis in Haiti

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