Sunday, February 01, 2004

The Society of Jesus is known for throwing its members--who are supposed to be willing--either to the lions or in at the deep end; Fr Morrison's case was no exception. Without ado or training at all in the field, he was told he had to be Editor of the Standard as of July 1, 1976. He recounted riding along on his bicycle, having had his first struggle with the beast called "The Editorial," and thinking in despair, "Lord--have I got to do this every week?" He did--and for eighteen years.

Quite simply put, not by training or by talent, but by spirit and by just who he was, he was the right man for wrong times.

They were times when the Catholic Standard was the only non-government, non-political party-owned form of media in a tightly-controlled country then without access to international or local television, and his role is well summed up in the comments of one lady who called to commiserate: "He was a man of integrity--which is very hard to find these days. He always rose above race, ideology--and sometimes even religion--and took a moral position." He himself would have said that it was his belief in God that made him what he was.

His guiding principle in writing was that the man in the marketplace had to understand it, and indeed he loved what he termed "doing my rounds," walking around selling the paper in the market himself, and talking to the people there. He was a man who loved Guyana and Guyanese, and loved to boast vicariously about those Guyanese who had done well. In return, all Guyanese, not just the Catholic community, felt they "owned" him.

-- From Roxana Kawall's tribute to the late Fr. Andrew Morrison, S.J.--former editor of the Catholic Standard & courageous advocate of press freedom in Guyana, who died last Monday--published in today's Stabroek News.

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