‘Bring back family values,’ provincial archbishop urges


The Most Reverend Ian Ernest during his meeting with Vice-President Faure yesterday at State House

The Most Reverend Ian Ernest, archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean, said this yesterday after he had held talks with Vice-President Danny Faure at State House.

Among the different issues discussed with VP Faure was the collaboration between the church and the state, the need to address social ills, the need for more regional cooperation among the different dioceses of the Indian Ocean.

The Most Reverend expressed warm gratitude to God for the good relations which exist between the church and the State here, whereby the government sponsors the building of churches and what he called supportive endeavours such as the construction of different facilities like homes for the elderly and community centres.

“Land and money have been given for a church and community centre at Anse Kerlan, Praslin, which shows the collaboration between the government and the church,” said the Most Reverend Ernest.
He said he has been deeply impressed by the quality of the discussions he has had with Vice-President Faure, the different Anglican church leaders and the head of the Roman Catholic diocese Bishop Denis Wiehe, whom he met earlier yesterday morning when they put a lot of emphasis on how the two dioceses could further work together.

He stressed on the need for more regional cooperation. He noted that as the archbishop of the Anglican church in the region with six dioceses in Madagascar, one in Mauritius and one in Seychelles, “we have  been the first institution in the region to really promote regional cooperation for the past 40 years”. 

The Most Reverend Ernest said he has asked the vice-president to convey to President James Michel the request for further regional cooperation. 
He said there is a need to create “more possibilities for us to visit one another”.

He said people in this region belong to each other and have many things in common and even have family ties and therefore the need to step up cooperation.

He noted that when it comes to addressing the different social ills, namely substance and alcohol abuse, drug trafficking, the church and the government were unanimous in the fact that there is a need for more programmes to help the youth understand that they are a richness to society and that we cannot  waste that richness.

He stressed that everything should be done to give them a sense of responsibility and that there is a need to work with adults and parents as they are the ones who should be role models for their children.

“If we have a sick youth we will produce a sick society and we cannot afford that,” said the Most Reverend Ernest.
He described the discussions with VP Faure as enriching.

“We shared the same concerns and expectations,” he said.
He said he is impressed by the level of development Seychelles has undergone since the first time he was here four years ago but besides these developments, pressing issues like social ills need to be addressed immediately.

He further stressed on the need for the countries of the region to step up their collaboration to prevent and discourage drug trafficking between them.

With regard to the Seychellois prisoners who have been sentenced to death in Egypt, he said he has promised VP Faure that he will write to the archbishop of Jerusalem, who is also responsible for Egypt, so that due consideration is given to the case of the three Seychellois.

As for all the other social issues like theft, difficult economic situations some families are facing, the Most Reverend said all groups in the community should work together to see how best to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members.

As a sign of solidarity, the Most Reverend and other members of the Anglican diocese hoped to share a meal yesterday evening with a group of destitute people in Victoria.
During the weekend the Most Reverend visited the Anglican community on Praslin and presided a special mass at the St Paul’s Cathedral in Victoria.