Pacific bishops to head to Rome for family meeting
Catholic bishops from around the Pacific are preparing to represent their people at a major meeting in Rome next month with the theme on family and mercy in the church.
Catholic bishops from around the Pacific are preparing to represent their people at a major meeting in Rome next month.
The Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will look at the role of the family in the church and the world.
Tonga's Cardinal Soane Patita Mafi, and the Archbishop of Suva, Peter Loy Chong, will join the bishop of Kundiawa, Anton Bal, who will represent Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
Suva Archbishop Peter Loy Chong told Koroi Hawkins that though focus of the Synod is family the overarching theme of the Pope's work is mercy in the church.
PETER LOY CHONG: All I know is the Pope is trying to have a more merciful stand or trying to make the church laws and regulations and teachings more merciful to people who are divorced. That although people can be divorced people still have faith, their relationship to God is still intact and their commitment to the church is still there. And that needs to be recognised.
KOROI HAWKINS: That seems such an important topic for the Pacific as you go forth from the Pacific, family is a big part of our lives and is this something that would resonate with the people, the catholic people in Fiji and in the rest of the region do you think?
PLC: I think it is quite a difference between the impact of these compared to America Europe, I think there is quite a big difference. Because in America the divorce rate is certainly very high compared to here. But there is concern in the church how you minister to these people who are in a divorced state because in the catholic church, once you are divorced then certain rituals you cannot attend in the church. For example Holy Communion until you have your marriage annulled and this is the other area that the Pope is trying to not to relax but make it more convenient to make the annulment process faster. And I hear that he is also trying to do, to see that there is no fees charged. So all the Pope is trying to do is to make it that the church adopts the merciful stand to those who find themselves in this.
KH: And do you think the model of what a family is, is changing in the Pacific? We have seen recently with CEDAW being rejected in Tonga and the debate on same sex marriage and all that. Do you think families are changing there are more partners out of wedlock, divorced couples as you say and is there a need for the churches to reflect that?
PLC: Yes there is changes but not in the at the rate that it is going overseas. Where with regards to same sex marriage over here it is still no yet even accepting that, the culture, religion is strong here. So two things the culture and the religion. It is going to, it will happen but I don't think it will happen at a very fast pace in the way it is taking place overseas.
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