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The stand-off in the Roman Catholic Church

Vicar General Carl Haynes and Fr. Gerard Paul were both on the alter for the weekly Sunday mass at the R.C Church at River Sallee

Efforts are being made by a 2-man team of Mediators of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme court to broker a deal between head of the Roman Catholic Church in Grenada, Trinidadian Clyde Harvey and controversial priest Gerard Paul who have been engaged in a war of words in recent weeks.

The Mediators Terrence Smith, an engineer by profession and Shireen Wilkinson, a local attorney-at-law met with both sides on Saturday to try and ease the tension between the two that had left the church on the island badly divided following their open clash in the public on the War in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

The priest referred to the Bishop as “a hyprocrite” and slammed the church’s silence on what he referred to as the genocide being committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza.

The conflict reached boiling point last Sunday when Bishop Harvey issued an edict to be read out during the mass in all churches around the island announcing that Fr. Paul had been “suspended indefinitely” from carrying out any priestly duties.

The priest threatened to defy the Bishop and to lead the Mass today (Sunday) at his Holy Family Catholic Church at River Sallee in St Patrick East.

A statement issued by the Mediators on Saturday night did not make any mention of the suspension of the priest but Fr. Paul was quoted as telling some of his followers that the ”suspension was suspended” as a result of the talks with the Mediators.

The statement released under the name of Mediator Smith read: “A meeting took place today Saturday 13th April 2024 involving Bishop Clyde Martin Harvey and Fr. Gerard Paul in the presence of two Mediators, Terrence Smith and Shireen Wilkinson with Dr. Francis Alexis, KC as witness.

“An agreement was reached to promote harmony in the Catholic Church in Grenada. The matter of the conduct of the Holy Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church tomorrow Sunday 14th April 2024 was resolved. Fr. Carl Haynes, Vicar-General of the Diocese will preside at Holy Mass and Fr. Gerard Paul may be in the Sanctuary.

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“Going forward, neither Bishop Harvey nor Fr. Gerard Paul will make any public statement apt to not be in the best interests of the Catholic Church.

“It was agreed that the Mediation will continue in two (2) weeks’ time.”

A Catholic church goer who attended the mass at River Sallee and referred to Fr Paul as “her Spiritual Director” said everything went well in the end between the priest and the Vicar-General for the conduct of the Mass.

She said people turned up but stayed outside of the church and indicated that “if Fr. Gerry don’t go on the altar, they’re not coming inside the church.”

“Fr Gerry came and he said that he will be on the altar so then people start to come inside the church. The choir then came and set up. If Gerry was not on the altar people would have gone back.”

According to the church goer, Fr. Paul addressed the gathering and pointed out that “the most important part of the agreement he signed yesterday was not included, that is the suspension is in abeyance but the release they put out that was not included.”

The Bishop Clyde Harvey/Gerard Paul conflict came to a head in recent days after the two had been engaged in heated arguments for years at regular meetings of the Priesthood.

Fr. Paul is known to have constantly attacked the Bishop on the lack of financial accountability by the Church on the use of funds and refused to carry out instructions to make the mandatory payment from his parish to the Cathedral.

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