Bishops of the Pacific discuss secularism, new evangelization and welfare of the clergy
“Australia and New Zealand Churches struggle to cope with the influence of secularism. But with the development of information and communication technology also other countries of the Pacific, such as Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, now realize that the same challenge is at their door steps. It is actually reaching the sitting rooms and verandahs of our humble homes in the rural areas.” This is what Bishop Rochus Tatamai, MSC of Bereina had to say after attending the meeting of the eight executive bishops of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania in Paita, New Caledonia, last 14-15 August. For the near future, however, the main focus for every diocese will be on the Year of Faith (11 Oct. 2012 - 24 Nov. 2013) and the theme of The New Evangelization promoted by Pope Benedict XVI.
The meeting was also a follow-up on the recommendations passed in the 2010 Sydney Federation Assembly. It was noted that a lot of the initiatives had been implemented, such as the call for more cooperation and sharing of lecturers for our Seminaries especially in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The call for possible insurance cover for the priests working in the dioceses and their personal health care was also assessed.
The eight executive bishops (Rochus Tatamai, MSC of Bereina for PNG and Chris Cardone, OP of Auki for Solomon Islands) gathered in preparation for the General Assembly of the Federation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania to be held in Wellington, New Zealand in the year 2014. The Federation includes four Bishops’ Conferences: Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands, and CEPAC, which consists of all other small island countries in the Pacific Ocean, such as Fiji, Tonga, Guam, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Vanuatu, etc.