“Democracy is under attack”, Cardinal in Mauritius on Situation in Many Countries

Maurice Cardinal Piat, Bishop Emeritus of Port-Louis in Mauritius. Credit: Port Louis Diocese

Democracy is not functioning well in many countries across the globe, Maurice Cardinal Piat has lamented in an interview.

In the interview with Défi Plus that was published Tuesday, August 15, Cardinal Piat advocated for respect for the separation of powers.

“In many countries in the world today, even very large ones, democracy is under attack,” Cardinal Piat said, and added in reference to democracy, “in order to function, it relies on the responsibility of citizens, and there's often a price to pay for being true to that responsibility.”

The Bishop emeritus of Mauritius’ Port Louis Diocese added, “When democracy is in danger, citizens - whether Church members or not - must be able to stand up and say loud and clear what's wrong, with all due respect for the legitimately elected authorities of the State.”

He underscored the need for collaboration in the realization of democratic processes, giving the example of the partnerships the Church in the Indian Ocean Island nation has initiated in her efforts to reach out to the people of God with services.


“The Church in Mauritius has always wanted to serve the entire Mauritian population. We collaborate with the relevant authorities. We are partners at the service of the population,” Cardinal Piat said.

The member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers) who had been at the helm of Port Louis Diocese since February 1993 until his retirement on May 19 further said, “In the way we serve these people, there may be differences of approach, which is why we must speak of a critical partnership.” 

“And in this partnership, it's not surprising that there are sometimes tensions and misunderstandings. But the important thing, the urgent thing, is that we work for the common good of Mauritians,” Cardinal Piat said.

Reflecting on drug abuse among young people, the 82-year-old Cardinal who started his Episcopal Ministry in May 1991 as Coadjutor Bishop of Port Louis said, “Some time ago, government authorities officially recognized that drug addicts should not be treated as guilty but as sick.”

“In my opinion, this is a major step forward. But there's one condition: we must be able to draw all the consequences from this change in the way we look at drug addicts,” he said, and added, “For example, we must not systematically punish drug addicts by throwing them in prison, but rather treat and rehabilitate them.”

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He continued, “If we want to be consistent, we could even consider turning some prisons into rehabilitation centers.”

“We mustn't forget that drugs are a very lucrative business, and business depends on customers. So, it's not enough to attack the traders; we have to make customers aware that what drug dealers are selling them is a deadly poison,” Cardinal Piat said.

Cardinal Piat is set to hand over the pastoral care of Port-Louis Diocese to Mons. Jean Michaël Durhône, who was appointed May 19.  Mons. Durhône’s Episcopal Ordination is scheduled for August 20 at the Mary Queen of Peace Cathedral of Port Louis Diocese.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.