|Archbishop on Fr Charles’ resignation from Integrity Commission - May 10|
|2009 - News|
|Friday, 08 May 2009 16:55|
In a history making move President George Maxwell Richards selected Fr Henry Charles as head of the country’s Integrity Commission on May 1.His tenure though was short-lived as Fr Charles resigned May 7 citing Canon Law. Following is the statement issued by Archbishop Edward Gilbert.
The media have been calling my office with questions regarding Father Henry Charles and the Integrity Commission. Rather than respond to the questions from the media individually, I have decided to issue a statement.
The week before his appointment, Fr. Henry Charles informed me that he was being considered for the position of Chairman of the Integrity Commission. Based on my understanding of the nature of the Integrity Commission’s authority at the time of my meeting with Father Charles and the recommendation of Canon 287 that clerics are to do their utmost to promote peace and harmony based on justice, I saw no canonical difficulty with his accepting the position of Chairman.
Fr Henry Charles
I affirmed him for having the legal credentials for the position, encouraged him to continue his broad based consultation about whether to accept the position and I recommended that he accept the position if his consultations continued to be positive.
When objections began to be made to his appointment, I met with Father Charles a second time. I asked him to explain the legal nature of the authority of the Integrity Commission. He informed me it had civil power.
I then advised him that because the Integrity Commission had civil power the prohibition of the Code of Canon Law would apply. The Canon reads: “Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.” (Canon 285, 3)
Without a formal request from me, Father Charles called me the following day and informed me that he planned to resign as the Chairman of the Integrity Commission.
With regret, I supported his decision.
Archbishop Edward J. Gilbert C.Ss.R.
Archbishop of Port of Spain
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