Pope’s number two to join assembly of Oceania bishops in PNG next month

oceania bishops

Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, is going to attend a meeting of Oceania bishops.

He will be at the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania(FCBCO) Plenary Assembly in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in April.

“We are delighted that Cardinal Parolin, the Secretary of State at the Vatican, will be with us,” said FCBCO Executive Member, Bishop Charles Drennan.

“His voice will echo Pope Francis’ voice and gestures for justice and care of our planet home.”

The Federation is made up of Bishops from Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, New Zealand and other Pacific nations.

They hold a plenary assembly every four years.

The assembly’s theme this year is ‘Care of our common home of Oceania: a sea of possibilities’.

Human rights and environmental care and protection will underlie the Assembly’s discussions.

There will be a particular focus on:

  • Displacement
  • Social unrest
  • Climate change
  • Harmful environmental practices such as deep-seabed mining
  • Over-fishing

Drennan said “We discuss these matters from the perspective of faith, which sees all creation and human life as a gift from God to be respected and treasured.

“We are very mindful of ongoing unrest and questionable military presence in West Papua as well as the growing influence of unsavoury business and political interests buying influence in the Pacific.

“I am hopeful of a renewed resolve for integrity in governance and sustainable and participatory economic development to arise from our discussions together and with local leaders.”

Keynote speakers at the Assembly include:
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who has been Secretary of State since 2013 and has worked in the diplomatic service of the Holy See for thirty years.

The cardinal will speak on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’ , which underlies the theme of the Assembly.

Governor Powes Parkop, a representative of the Government’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry.

He will deliver a keynote on the ongoing conflict between the Indonesian government and portions of the indigenous populations in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, one of the world’s leading experts on climate change policy and environmental and energy policy, speaking to the Assembly on Catholic Social Teachings.

Father Clement Taulam of PNG, who will discuss the current situation about Manus Refugees and his work in this area.

Last year, Father Clement and retired army major Michael Kuweh made headlines in defying the PNG and Australian governments in calling for assistance for the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus, and for a peaceable solution to the standoff inside the condemned Australian-run detention centre.

Other sessions during the Assembly include an update on progress about the region preparing for Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

New Zealand priest, Monsignor Gerard Burns, President of Caritas Oceania will update the bishops on the important work the NZCBC agency is undertaking across the region and their work with communities, government and aid agencies on climate change, sustainability, education and advocacy.

New Zealand also will report on its national youth festival in December last year, its survey of young people and its participation in the Pre-Synodal Meeting to take place in Rome from 19 to 24 March 2018.

Towards to end of the assembly, attendees will take part in a mass with local communities and a formal dinner with the PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.


  • Supplied: Amanda Gregan Communications Advisor – NZ Catholic Bishops/ Te Huinga o ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa
  • Image: catholicismpure.wordpress.com
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