Nuns in PNG incredibly and inspiringly courageous

The Catholic Church has a unique role in combating belief in sorcery and mob reprisal attacks against sorcerers, Bishop Don Lippert of Mendi says.

He has described the nuns who venture into the worst areas of the country as incredibly and inspiringly courageous.

Lippert says they are putting their lives at risk in a desperate bid to reach those in need of help.

“They go right to the midst of where it is happening.”

“They have been threatened, pushed, stoned and in one case burned.”

“They have been accused of being witches.”

“They are not always successful the first time, but they do not give up until they take the victim into their care.”

According to Lippert “most, but not all, victims are women with no one to stand up for them.”

“Women here (in the Highlands) are still in many ways, second class citizens,” he said. “They make easy targets.”

Luckily, so far the nuns have survived the attacks, and the bishop adds they and local helpers are not deterred from returning to help.

One problem, according to Lippert and many activists, is that the law is not enforced and the government does not push the police to act.

“Changing beliefs can take a long time. However, society has the duty of protecting the vulnerable and must hold accountable those who perpetrate violence against them. Right now people do these things with impunity,” he said.

“It is a very complex issue involving all of the following – in varying degrees – fear, resentment, jealousy, marijuana, greed, culture, clash of cultures, diabolical evil, and more.”

He added the complexity made it difficult, but not impossible to combat.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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