An action alert from Professor Bill Quigley of Loyola New Orleans Law School:
Friends of Pere Jean-Juste:
Fr. Jean-Juste has completed a series of chemotherapy treatments in Miami and is hoping that he will receive permission from his doctors to return to Haiti in the next couple of weeks. When he returns to Haiti, Fr. Jean-Juste still faces pending criminal charges and the possibility of being returned to prison. Fr. Jean-Juste is prepared for whatever the government does when he returns.
However, there is another problem. It is with the Church.
Fr. Jean-Juste has been suspended from acting as a priest by the Diocese of Port au Prince. That means he cannot exercise his priestly functions. This happened during the time when the coup government falsely jailed Fr. Jean-Juste after trying to have him assassinated during a funeral mass. While in jail, thousands rallied in support of Fr. Jean-Juste and called for Fr. Jean-Juste to run for President of Haiti. It was at this time that Fr. Jean-Juste was suspended from acting as a priest under the false accusation that he was a candidate for political office. Church leadership was under intense pressure to silence Fr. Jean-Juste’s calls for democracy and human rights. Fr. Jean-Juste explains in detail what happened below.
Please consider emailing Bishop Serge Miot asking that he re-instate Fr. Jean-Juste as a priest so he can return to Haiti and rejoin his congregation at St. Claire’s.
You can email Bishop Serge Miot at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send a copy to the Papal Nuncio of Haiti, Archbishop Mario Giordana at email@example.com. Please also send a cc to me, at Quigley@loyno.edu, so I can help Fr. Jean-Juste keep track of the people supporting him.
Thank you for all you do for justice and peace.
Bill Quigley Quigley@loyno.edu
This is Fr. Jean-Juste’s description of what happened:
“While I was dying in jail, around September 2005, Bishop Joseph Serge Miot came in a Sunday. He talked to me for a while and then handled me a yellow envelope with two pages in it. Inside was a cover letter and the sanction telling me I was suspended from acting as a priest. I was sanctioned because it was said that I had become a candidate for President of Haiti.
Everyone knows this is a false accusation. I was in jail during the time to qualify as a candidate. Haitian electoral law does not accept candidacy from a detained prisoner. I was not a candidate. It is not a matter for sanction.
The following week in jail was one of the toughest weeks for me. I had no other choice than to appeal the sanction and sent the appeal to the Pope via the Nuncio Archbishop Mario Giordana. It was September 30, 2005.
There has been no response from the Holy Father yet. But, according to canon 1638 of the Canon Law, the appeal is “suspensive”. That means all punishments are suspended until the Vatican takes a decision. Bishop Miot says he won’t apply canon 1638. It’s nonsense, in his words. So he says I cannot act as a priest while the Vatican hears my appeal.
It reveals clearly that in Haiti, facing either the civil or religious machinery, there is no due process especially for the little ones.
I loved Mother Church. I believe in justice for all. I preached loud about equal justice. I am confident the Vatican will reject the Bishop Miot’s sanction which is not documented at all.
I know that as I am a cancer patient. I may die soon. I’ll love to die at home, on duty. Living longer abroad without priestly faculties or living shorter at home, on duty, with faculties, I’ll choose my earthly home preparing myself, in Jesus, for the Heavenly Dwelling.”
With God’s blessing, Victory is Coming!