PNG’s Cardinal Ribat appointed one of four Synod Presidents.


Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Sir John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. one of four presidents-delegate for the October Synod of Bishops.

Climate change is a key issue for the pope and Ribat has been outspoken about the effects that rising ocean levels have had on his people.

The other three president delegates are Louis Sako of Baghdad, the Chaldean patriarch; Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar; and Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar.

All four come from what Francis has described the “peripheries” of the world.

Each of the president-delegates also come from places that reflect a major issue outlined in the synod’s “instrumentum laboris” (“working document”).

  • A martyred church (Iraq)
  • A missionary church (Madagascar)
  • A church for migrants (Myanmar)
  • A church for the care of creation (Papua New Guinea)

The presidents-delegate take turns in presiding over the synod assemblies on behalf of the Pope.

Though a “president delegate” post doesn’t necessarily mean much in terms of the ability to shape discussion or ram through decisions, the choices are nevertheless telling as to where Francis wants the conversation in October to go.

A president-delegate is responsible for guiding the work of the synod and assigning special tasks to certain members when necessary so that the assembly proceeds efficiently.

He also signs the documents of the assembly. When there are several presidents-delegate, they all sign the final documents of the synod.

The synod will meet at the Vatican from 3 to 28 October to discuss “young people, faith and vocational discernment.”


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News category: Asia Pacific, Top Story.

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