Archbishop Chong – churches must be ready to challenge injustice


Churches must be ready to challenge village councils when leaders act unjustly says the Archbishop of Suva Peter Loy Chong.

He was speaking after a Justice and Development Commission Seminar entitled “Reading the Signs of the Times in Fiji – Catholic Social Teaching and Socio-Political Issues”.

“There are times when the church will tell village leaders – your ideas are not well founded, your decisions are not right, that needs to be corrected,” Chong said.

In particular the Catholic church is concerned about two of the proposed village by-laws that have been distributed for discussion and feedback:

One calls for the establishment of a committee with representatives from the various religious denominations within the village. This is to ensure members of their denominations comply with the decisions of the Village Council and Bose Vanua (council of chiefs) and that traditional and cultural obligations are respected and adhered to.

The other relates to establishing churches in villages. Under the by-laws any request to establish a church should be submitted to the Turaga-ni-Koro (head of the village) to be discussed in the Bose Vanua. The principles and teachings of these churches must be aligned to the iTaukei culture.

Chong warned that no culture was 100 per cent correct and forcing such a legislation was harmful even to the iTaukei.

The seminar’s participants included of Catholic politicians, chiefs, clergy, members of the Fiji Council of Churches, lay church leaders and representatives of the non-government organisations.

“The conference is not about telling people what party to vote for or to support a particular party. We are inviting all politicians regardless what party they belong to,” Chong said.

It is expected that similar seminars will take place in the Western and Northern Divisions later in the year.


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , , ,