29 Oct 2007

Papal nuncio concerned by Fiji Catholic Archbishop's role in setting up People's Charter

11:22 am on 29 October 2007

The Pope's representative to the Pacific, Archbishop Charles Balvo, is seeking an explanation from the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Fiji on why he decided to co-chair the People's Charter.

The Fiji Times quotes the Wellington-based papal nuncio as saying he faxed a letter to Archbishop Petero Mataca after seeing the media hype on the issue.

Archbishop Balvo says he is seeking an explanation on the purposes and work involved in the People's Charter in case someone from Rome asks him.

Last week three former Catholic cabinet ministers from the Qarase government visited Archbishop Mataca and called on him to withdraw from the co-chair's position, but he declined saying it was time to move Fiji forward.

Meanwhile, a senior Anglican clergyman in Fiji, Bishop Apimeleki Qiliho, has come out in support of Archbishop Mataca, saying he is a man of principle who has always stood for what he believed in and would not be influenced from the outside.

And a former Fiji MP, Fred Caine, says Archbishop Mataca's critics have a political agenda but the silent majority of Catholics support him.