Mataca stood for equal opportunity, justice and dignity for every Fijian

Civil and church leaders in Fiji have been paying tribute to the late Emeritus Archbishop of Fiji, Petero Mataca.

“He stood for equal opportunity, justice and dignity for every Fijian,” said the Prime Minster of Fiji, Voreqe Bainimarama, in his message of condolence.

“Every Fijian joins me in mourning the passing of Archbishop Petero Mataca, the former head of the Roman Catholic Church in Fiji. He was a towering figure in the church and the wider community, serving as the Archbishop of Suva for a remarkable 36 years.”

“Archbishop Mataca was a man of great integrity who was always prepared to take a stand for what is right. I came to deeply appreciate his personal qualities when he and I co-chaired the National Council for Building a Better Fiji. We shared a vision of a nation in which a common and equal citizenry work hand in hand for the common good and I deeply valued his commitment and support as we strove to meet that common objective.”

“It is sad that Archbishop Mataca did not live to see the first genuine democracy that he so passionately believed in take hold in Fiji after our General Election in September. But when it happens, it will be in large part because of the building blocks he did so much to set in place.”

“I will never forget his courage in standing up to the forces of division in Fiji, nor the great moral authority he exercised as Archbishop for the common good. As I mourn his passing, I renew my commitment to achieve Archbishop Mataca’s vision for our beloved nation.”

“He stood for equal opportunity, justice and dignity for every Fijian. And those are the principles on which a better Fiji is being built.”

Dans un communiqué de condoléances, mardi, le Premier ministre Franck Bainimarama a rendu un vibrant hommage à un « homme d’une grande intégrité, toujours prêt à s’engager pour ce qui est juste .

“Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae said Mataca has contributed immensely towards the development of the country and religion”

“Mataca had lived a life dedicated to service of God, and was passionate about social justice and addressing the needs of the under-privileged,” he said

Pihaatae said that under his leadership, the Roman Catholic church made significant contributions to national development including the building of 12 secondary schools.

He added  Mataca would be remembered for the emphasis he put on localising positions within the local church at a time when Fiji was taking its initial steps as an independent nation.

Acting general secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji Rev Dr Epineri Vakadewavosa said Mataca “was committed to the ecumenical movement and understood that the journey of searching for visible unity of the Body of Christ was a long road that required a patient and loving heart.”

“In the times when the church in Fiji was able to speak with one voice, he was with us. In the times when we could not find our common voice, he held his hand out in friendship.” and reconciliation.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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