Faith against development?
Fr. Giorgio Licini
Commission on Social Communications
PNG Catholic Bishops’ Conference
14 OCT 2013. According to an article by Malum Nalu in The National today, acting Morobe administrator Geoving Bilong is blaming the Church, the Gospel and people’s religious faith for lack of development in his province. In a few words he says that people sit down quietly assured of their “reward in haven” and unwilling to grasp the opportunities life on earth is offering.
I have never lived in Morobe, so I can’t really say to what extent Mr. Bilong’s assessment of his people’s attitude correspond to the truth. Should he be correct in his analysis, of course there is food for thoughts for all Morobeans. Nowhere in Christian revelation, in fact laziness is recommended and heaven is a substitute of earth. It’s rather a reward for what a good heart and a vivid mind has achieved!
Strange enough, Mr. Bilong blames the Church for the fact that foreigners are taking over businesses in Lae and leaving the locals behind. I don’t believe that the Lutheran, Anglican and Catholic bishops in the city are in control of business licenses or the parishes secretly favor Chinese and Malaysians. They don’t bother at all!
The acting administrator should probably realize that the lack of interest, organization and industriousness of a part of the population is routed in ancestral attitudes, poor education, the difficult transition from the old system to modern life and lack of government policies.
The Gospel that the acting administrator fears, can actually help good Morobeans to embrace development with cautiousness, care and respect of people and nature. Some so called “modern development”, in fact is as disrespectful of the Gospel as it is of Melanesian most treasured traditional values.
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