19/04/2012 20:28


“The Constitution is not a foreign document”, Ribat

The Catholic Church and the Parliament of PNG may soon find themselves on a collision course as Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby raised his voice this morning at the Rakunai basilica in East new Britain while presiding at the Mass for the centennial anniversary of the birth of Blessed Peter ToRot.

Present were all other Catholic Bishops of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, who are meeting these days at Kokopo for their annual consultation, and about one thousand people.

“The Constitution is not a foreign document”, Ribat said recalling the time in the mid seventies when the drafting committee sent representatives to his school to gather the opinions of the students on the contents of the Ma Lo. Ribat was 16 at the time.

He referred to Peter ToRot as a good family leader and community leader, one of those that are needed at all times. He always gave priority to the needs of others before providing for himself.

Informal comments from other Bishops at the ceremony and the gathering are also of shock and disbelief at the way the Constitutional provisions are overruled by a Parliament perceived to be in the hands of few unscrupulous members.

Any maneuvering by Parliament for the postponement of elections or further curtailing of the independence of the judiciary is likely to force a stand from the Catholic Bishops Conference, which is in the position of mobilizing thousands of students from schools at all levels and many more common citizens.

Giorgio Licini

CBC Communications

19 April 2012