23 Sep 2013

Fiji PM hits back at cleric for comments on constitution

3:04 pm on 23 September 2013

The Fiji Prime Minister has hit back at claims by the country's senior Catholic cleric that the new constitution lessens the role religion plays in society.

Earlier this month Archbishop Peter Loy Chong told the meeting of the World Association of Christian Communications in Suva the new constitution's referral to religion as a personal matter threatened to lessen the role of religion in society.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama accused the archbishop of saying the document restricts the practice of religious belief and pointed to clause 22 which protects the right to observe religion.

He accused Bishop Chong of spreading misinformation and said the comments have the potential to inflame public opinion.

Bishop Chong told the group he was concerned about the emphasis on the personal aspect of religion and said it would limit the church and render it voiceless in society.