By Jonathan Luxmoore Catholic News Service
OXFORD, England (CNS) — Cardinal-designate Maurice Piat of Port Louis, Mauritius, is “a man of vision who places great weight on formation, the inclusion of young people and a life drawing on ecclesial base communities,” said the editor of the diocesan weekly.
Daniele Babooram, editor of La Vie Catholique, told Catholic News Service that Pope Francis’ nomination of her bishop proved that “no small country, church or diocese is too far away.”
Babooram said Cardinal-designate Piat’s nomination was particularly timely because the church in Mauritius had been engaged in a three-year “listening and discernment process,” which had led to a firmer emphasis on charity work and initiatives to help poor people.
The appointment is “a new invitation to think big — as pastors, as Christian communities and as a church fully engaged in service to a multiethnic, multireligious society. It’s a super-boost for us to roll up our sleeves and live out our full human potential.”
She told CNS the country faced a “crisis of leadership,” after being dominated since independence in 1968 by the same three political parties. She also said Cardinal-designate Piat had urged firmer action against climate change and the mistreatment of migrants reaching the country.
Cardinal-designate Piat worked with the late Cardinal Jean Margeot in guiding the church in Mauritius from colonization to independence, so he “carries a precious legacy,” she said.
“No one here has been able to awaken dreams or set examples, so perhaps this much-awaited role can now be played by the church, which enjoys a positive image and isn’t enclosed in the sacristy,” the Catholic editor told CNS.
The daily newspaper Le Mauricien praised the cardinal-designate as “a churchman of uncommon simplicity and modesty, but with a sense for work well done,” who had exercised “a subtle, but highly effective presence” in church and society.
Among key achievements, it listed his organization of St. John Paul II’s visit to Mauritius in October 1989. The daily also mentioned the cardinal-designate’s backing for educational and electoral reforms and interfaith dialogue, and support for the rights of foreign workers, Creole citizens and deported Chagos islanders.