When Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski talks about Haiti, people listen.
Wenski spent many years serving South Florida’s Haitian-American community. He speaks fluent Creole and has traveled extensively throughout the impoverished country. Wenski, who took over the reins of the archdiocese two months ago, joined me for a taping of News & Views.
Asked about the daunting task of rebuilding Haiti after last year’s earthquake, he said the Haitian government’s priorities need to be more efficient rubble removal, establishing a strong building code and moving people out of temporary shelters and into permanent housing.
The challenges are daunting, but the archbishop is hopeful.
“The Haitian people have a great capacity for endurance,” Wenski told me.
On immigration, Wenski blasted Arizona’s controversial law that allows police officers to question suspected illegal immigrants about their immigration status. Bringing a similar law to Florida, Wenski said, would be a huge mistake.
“Florida depends on tourism and a good portion of our tourists are from Latin America and Europe,” he said. “Why would we want to shoot ourselves in the foot by enacting a law that makes us look bad to people who come here as tourists and might be harassed because of a law like this?”
Never one to mince words, Wenski was candid when I asked him about Father Alberto Cutie, the former Catholic priest who left the church to get married. Cutie is now an Episcopal priest in South Florida.
“How can I say I am happy for him for what is a betrayal of his vows and a slap in the face to his brother priests?” Wenski asked.