The brutal assassination last Sunday night of Father Jean-Marie Vincent, S.M.M. in Port-au-Prince symbolizes in a special way the agony that so much of Haiti is suffering every day. Unlike the many anonymous poor whose battered bodies have turned up with appaling regularity ever since the coup d'etat almost three years ago, Father Vincent was a well-known figure and a dedicated priest. This crime must be condemned and those who perpetrated it brought to justice.
We pray that his death may not portend an escalation of the repression, especially against the followers of the deposed president. May it instead cause all to redouble their efforts to find a solution to this crisis and bring Haiti back from "the brink of ruin," as the Haitian bishops have described the present time. We urge the international community as well to explore creative and determined diplomatic efforts to hasten the end of the crisis. Reconciliation and peace must take the place of repression and violence in Haiti.
Our prayers go out in a special way to the family and friends of Father Vincent, to his confreres in the Montfort Missionary society, including Archbishop Gayot and Bishop Colimon, and to all the people of Haiti. May his sacrifice hasten a peaceful return to democracy and development and a renewed search for the path of peace and reconciliation in Haiti.
Most Rev. Daniel P. Reilly
USCC Committee on International Policy