The Catholic Archbishop of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea says people need to use land in a respectful manner, consistent with the 'group ethic' of Melanesian society.
Francesco Panfilo was speaking after his diocese had returned land it owned to the general public, through a combination of gifts and sales.
The archbishop said one parcel which the church sold for $US10,000 dollars was quickly onsold to foreign buyers for $US200,000 dollars.
He said the church's land divestment was aimed at giving opportunities to local families.
"We want to aim at unity and when we are united among ourselves we share, we share also the goods of creation. So that probably where, not only the Melanesian culture comes into the picture but also Christian aspect of sharing and stewardship", he said.
Archbishop Francesco Panfilo said some of the controversial sales had led to claims the church was selling to the Chinese.