No to Constitutional Amendments
Gordons, Port Moresby: The Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands and the Catholic Professional Society held a press conference on Saturday, October 7 to re-affirm their stance on saying No to Constitutional Amendments, the Issue of PNG as a Christian country.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands together with the Catholic Professional Societies expressed that the bill before parliament to make PNG a Christian country is not necessary as there was no proper consultation with the PNG council of churches, especially the mainline churches.
Speaking at the press conference were CBCPNGSI president and Bishop of Bereina, Most Rev. Bishop Otto Separy, Vice President of CBCPNGSI and Bishop of Lae Most Rev. Rozario Menezes SMM, and the President of Catholic Professional Society Mr. Paul Harricknen.
Bishop Otto Separy expressed that politicians must not use faith for the government’s agenda because faith cannot be governed by law and that would mean citizens have to go to church because the law says to do so.
Bishop Rozario in his talk said that PNG is already a Christian country recognized and adapted in the preamble of the constitution, thus, we do not need to impose laws on how to live and practice our faith
“The government said amending the constitution will not affect anyone for that matter and if the government said there will be no effect then why go to the trouble to amend the constitution in the first place?”
Bishop Rozario also highlighted that the Catholic Church is not against the government, but against the processes taken for laws concerning faith which is a serious concern, and that the mainline churches be part of the process and called on other mainline churches to stand in solidarity on the issue of saying ‘No to Constitutional Amendments’.
“The consultation carried out by the National Executive Council took 6 months and should have taken more than a year”
The same sentiment was shared by the Catholic Professional Society President Paul Harricknen.
“Prior consultation with mainline churches and the people is very important as this is a serious issue that concerns everyone. A proper process should be encouraged so ordinary people will know and understand the content of the amendment for the case of PNG being a Christian country by law”.