The Episcopal Conference of Haiti (CEH) has decided to suspend Father Gerard Jean-Juste from his priestly duties due to his political activities. Wendell Theodore reports as follows:
(Theodore) It is stipulated in the text that Canon 285, paragraph 3, forbids clergymen from fulfilling public duties that involve participation in the exercise of civil power. It is certainly the duty of a priest to work to preserve peace and harmony among men, which is based on justice. But the fulfilment of this duty in does not involve an unseemly meddling in political affairs, Coadjutor Bishop of Port-au-Prince Serge Miot wrote.
Bishop Miot points out, in a letter addressed to Father Jean-Juste on April 7, 2005, that the church had asked each prelate not to put themselves outside of the church communion, to refrain from becoming members of organizations that are incompatible with the clerical state, from participating in electoral campaigns, from participating in electoral contests, from applying for public positions, from occupying positions that are set for lay people and from carrying out propaganda activities that could disrupt church unity and communion.
No priest is allowed to become involved in politics on behalf of the church or to use the church to do so. After realizing that Father Jean-Juste has in fact given a mandate for his candidacy for the presidency to be registered at the CEP (Provisional Electoral Council), the Archdiocese thus expresses its most formal disapproval and declares by this decree that Father Jean-Juste is suspended from his sacerdotal duties. He is barred from carrying out ecclesiastical duties, parish ministries, or any other pastoral duty, states the note issued by the Port-au-Prince Archdiocese signed by Monsignor Serge Miot.
Father Jean-Juste had in fact given a proxy to members of the Lavalas (ruling party under Jean-Bertrand Aristide) sector to register him as a presidential candidate in the coming elections. His request was rejected by the CEP, which reminded throughout this process, that the electoral decree requires each candidate to go in person to the Departmental Electoral Office (BED) to register. Father Jean-Juste is in jail for alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Jacques Roche by bandits.