Source: ACBC Media Blog

Bishop Michael McKenna joined with bishops from across Oceania who are meeting in Papua New Guinea this week to discuss human rights and environmental issues in the region.

On Wedensday 12th April in Port Moresby, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, celebrated the opening Mass of the Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania.

The assembly’s theme is "Care of our Common Home of Oceania: A sea of possibilities", with 75 bishop delegates from Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and other Pacific island countries set to discuss displacement, social unrest, climate change and look at harmful environmental practices such as deep-sea bed mining and overfishing.

Vatican News reports Cardinal Parolin gave a keynote address on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’,  the second encyclical of Pope Francis, which addressed the obligations of “man” to each other and the environment. 

The Cardinal noted that “ideology has a great impact on our approach to questions of ecology and the environment.” He pointed out that the “mental ideology that can lead us to theses damaging consequences that the Pope mentioned in “Laudato Si” is the ideology of individualism.” This ideology whose origins can be traced back to the Age of Enlightenment, he explained, encourages separation from one another and from the community and brings us towards other means of individual and independent living.

Among the other speakers at the assembly will be Fr Clement Taulam of PNG who will discuss the situation around Manus Island refugees and his work in this area. Last year, Fr Clement made headlines in defying the PNG and Australian governments in calling for assistance for the refugees and asylum-seekers on Manus, and for a peaceable solution to the standoff inside the condemned Australian-run detention centre.

The assembly, held every four years, will conclude on Monday 16th April.

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