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  • Nigel Akuani

Catholic Bishops call for Morale Judgement in National Elections

Rondon, Western Highlands Province: “Use this opportunity and privilege to support parties and candidates who have good moral conducts, good family life and good political platforms,” was the strong emphasis highlighted in the statement presented by the Catholic Bishops Conference PNG&SI at a media briefing held on Thursday 5th May 2022.



The briefing was part of the Annual General Meeting of CBCPNG&SI, held from 26th April – 4th May 2022, at the Rondon Ridge Lodge in Mt Hagen, that had as its theme ‘Salt and Light’.


Forming the distinguished panel of presenters were Archbishop of Port Moresby, His Eminence, Sir John Cardinal Ribat; President of CBCPNG&SI, His Excellency, Archbishop Anton Bal of Madang; and Vice-President of CBCPNGSI, His Excellency, Bishop Otto Separy of Bereina. Present for the occasion were Bishops from the different Dioceses, staff of CBCPNG&SI, Mainstream and Catholic Media Personnel. Audiences were also able to tune into the session via social media platform ‘Zoom’, that allowed the entire program to live-streamed.


The statement reaffirmed the stance of neutrality in politics the Catholic Church of Papua New Guinea was taking, but also made clear the Church’s urging voice for citizens to be rational and of sound mind for the common good of all. “The Catholic Church maintains its neutrality. We do not endorse as a Church body any particular candidate or political party in this election and any other election. We want the process to be free, honest and without fear or favor. Votes should not be made because candidates are your family members, tribal group or belong to your associations,” it read.

Emphasizing the rights and freedom of all citizens to support and elect candidates at their own choice, the document further read, “Using their own prudent judgement and conscience, they have their democratic right to choose trustworthy and God-fearing people. We ask you to vote wisely because your vote is your power, and it determines you and your children’s future.”


Abp Bal cautioned that if this year’s elections were not guided by good decisions, the long-term impacts would be detrimental for the entire country. “If the government believes in neutrality and the laws that we stand on guided by our moral conscience that tells us something is wrong, then it will do so to ensure that the elections are free from manipulation and intimidation of any sort. But if the voice of conscience were to be disregarded and the whole system taken advantage of, then this election would be the worst of all,” he warned.


Cardinal Ribat urged citizens eligible in voting and intending candidates to be mindful of their conduct in the coming elections and called on all to be guided by their own heart and choice. “It must not be motivated or influenced in any way by intending candidates. Vote for people you trust will make better decisions and who are honest and willing to serve our nation’s people with humbleness and humility. Our vote has power and when we vote, we contribute toward bettering our society. Let us be responsible and not compromise our moral standing for short-term gain,” he stated.


In his recollection of Papua New Guinea’s history of election periods, Bp Separy, said the nation had come such a long way since first gaining independence in 1975, and implored citizens to access their basic democratic right without fear, favour, or intimidation. “We need to as the educated population of PNG understand the importance of the National Elections. Let us learn from past elections and exercise our responsibility of advocating and educating others in our communities,” he said.


“A leader is an elected representative of the people and they should always listen to the minds of the people, speak for the people, drive change for them, and not impose their own ideas. Those elected into parliament become legislators, and the laws they make must be for the good of the country and its citizens, and they must also be in accordance with our Christian principles and values,” he emphasized.

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