No one can be forced to attend church services

church services

The question of Sunday church attendance has been raised in Fiji, in the course of a consultation about village by-laws which is taking place there.

Responding suggestions some villagers have made for a village by-law stating that everyone living in villages should attend church every Sunday Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Naipote Katonitabua says no one can be forced to attend church services.

He told  Fijivillage that according to the 2013 Constitution, people have the right to attend or not to attend church services.

The constitution states that there is freedom of religion but no one should be forced to follow a particular religion.

Issues have also been raised on what happens to the villagers who are Seventh Day Adventists as their sabbath falls on Saturdays.

Katonitabua says that the leaders of families within the Tokatoka and the Mataqali should know what Sundays meant to their forefathers.

He says they received many reports during the village by‑law consultations of villagers not attending church.

Katonitabua says over time people have come up with new ways of life that badly affected the church attendance on Sundays.

However he says while there are rights to worship our own religion, there are also limitations which are needed to respect the vanua.

He says the whole purpose of the Village By-Law Consultation is to bring back the respect that villages had before.

Katonitabua says the villagers are now well involved on village activities and particularly looking at the welfare and the well-being of the village.

He says there is a great amount of support from the elders of the village in terms of safeguarding tradition and culture.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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