09/11/2013 04:44

Communion and Social justice key issues for the future of the Church in the Pacific

07 NOV 2013/3. The Second General Assembly of the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands today addressed the issues of Communion in the morning and Social Justice in the afternoon. Fr. Andrew Moses, Vicar General of the diocese of Daru-Kiunga, stressed the fact the Communion is the nature of the Church both from a theological and pastoral point of view. And this has become particularly evident with the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium that has followed.

The debate and sharing that developed in groups and in the open discussions highlighted a variety of issues: from the importance of an inclusive pastoral plan, to unity among Bishops and priests, improved ecumenical dialogue, spirituality, lay and women participation, and especially concern for the difficult situation of the family, where a life of communion is denied to many children at the outset of their lives.

Mr. Basil Peutala, formerly in charge of a Social justice office of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Papua New Guinea, led the assembly into the consideration of growing poverty, neglect of children and social injustice in many ways as the country embraces modern development and exploitation of resources. “I practice the Catholic faith, but I am not a Catholic in practice" if I ignore these issues and I do nothing for the poor and the neglected, Mr. Peutala said. The participants stressed in their contributions gender issues, witchcraft, sexual orientation discrimination, prostitution and “sugar daddy” practice for young girl students, cultural transition, politicians ignoring the voice of the Churches in many issues of social concern, the need to instill a deeper social awareness particularly in students and future professionals.

A strong indication is there that issues of communion and social justice will be at the core of the five-year pastoral plan expected to emerge from the Second General Assembly of the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. (www.cbcpngsi.orggiorgiolicini@yahoo.com)