The attempted coup in Haiti and the mob violence which followed are continuing signs of the injustice and lawlessness that haunt that tragic island nation. Shortly after a democratic election, the worst elements of the old Duvalier regime attempted to seize power. And then, after the coup was defeated, mobs apparently took to the streets in a reported wave of killing and destruction.
The path to a new Haiti cannot be carved by coups or by more violence and intimidation. It must, at long last, be founded on respect for human life, on true justice and on respect for the rights of all, including the Church, to play their role in securing a better future for Haiti. The current and newly elected governments of Haiti must condemn, resist and punish all attempts from whatever source to use violence to undermine the recent election or to settle political or other disputes.
We have expressed our grave concern and deep sympathy to the Catholic Church of Haiti regarding the reported burning of the old Cathedral, the Bishop's House and the residences of the Papal Nuncio and the Archbishop of Port.au.Prince. There is no excuse or justification for these attacks on the Church and her representatives.
We have called on our nation to contribute to the building of a more democratic Haiti and better life for her people, but our assistance must be founded on a Haiti which fully respects the rights of its own people and the freedom of the Church to carry out its ministry.
Our prayers, support and Episcopal solidarity go out to the people of Haiti as they struggle to fashion a more just and democratic society and to the Bishops and church workers of Haiti as they carry out their ministry in these difficult and dangerous days.