Against witch hunters

A Catholic Bishop in Papua New Guinea has announced that the diabolical Papua New Guinean tendency to hunt and slay persons alleged to be witches shall be combated in the coming year.

During an intense New Year interview yesterday, PNG’s Enga Provincial Catholic Bishop of Wabag Arnold Orowae stated that witch hunting; the subjugation of women caused by it and the overall negative image the act portrays shall be addressed by the Catholic Church.

Bishop Orowae who has served in the province for over a decade said that as the sun sets on 2014, it is the Catholic Church’s utmost intent to turn the tables on the centuries’ old practice of witch hunting making the hunters, ‘the hunted.’ He expressed his disgust at people who call themselves Christians and go around spreading dissension and unsubstantiated lies linking innocent individuals to the macabre and morbid realm of sorcery. The Bishop furthered that it was the Catholic Orders’ plan to seek out groups and persons who supposedly hunt witches and stop them by showing them the error in their belief system. Bishop Orowae also said that the Church’s fight against these witch hunters when identified would be taken on jointly with the police if need arose or rebuked persons remained unrepentant.

Speaking in light of the Christmas Day incident that involved a group in the Wanakipa area of Hela Province who allegedly hunted down and almost succeeded in killing four women accused of witch craft, Bishop Orowae said it was the Church’s absolute resolve to initiate a halt to such incidents that have held an oppressive power over women in particular. It was disclosed that over 25 women alone have been killed over the past ten years after being accused of witchcraft.

Bishop Orowae pointed out that witch hunters always hide their murderous intentions under a self-deceiving veil of good will ordaining themselves the judge, jury and executioners of otherwise innocent women. “The unethical and unlawful killing of women alleged to be witches must and will be stopped in 2015. “The Catholic Church is therefore taking the stand to ex-communicate any persons or groups that wish to continue the occult practice. “We will work with NGO’s and slowly entice the government into taking a more prominent role in fighting this adopted act that has destroyed the country socially through its oppression of women, culturally through the false claim of it being a domestic practice and where the country’s reputation is concerned on the world front,” Bishop Orowae said.

PNG Today/Post Courier (Franklin Kolma) – 31 Dec 2014


Year 2004 very good for PNG

The year 2014 has been very good for Papua New Guinea. In Education PNG is nearly achieving Number 2 of the Eight (8) United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which is Universal Primary Education. It is still a challenging task for the Government and other NGOs to reach the target. About 500,000 school aged children are not going to school yet. But we are getting there. The Government also helped the churches with K25 million through the Department of Planning and Church State Partnership (CSP) program to fund projects in Education and Health.

In Health, PNG is gradually winning its fight against Malaria according to Dr. James Wangi. 1.6 million cases were recorded annually and about 600-700 died every year from Malaria. But this figure has decreased significantly thanks to the successful partners.

There are other developments in the country: better roads; more schools and health centres; more human resources and better equipped. LNG and other natural resources bring in wealth to our economy. Government is better focused with regard to development.

PNG was ranked second among 37 countries of the western Pacific region in Tuberculosis (TB) prevalence and death rates. About 14,000 people were affected annually and more than 4,000 people die every year. We have a long way to go.

With regard to Corruption, PNG ranks 145 out of 174 countries in 2014 (Corruption Perception Index collated by Transparency International) while it ranked 154 in 2011. It is good to know that many prominent leaders who were involved in corruption are behind bars and others are facing justice. There is a slight improvement but a lot to be desired.

Law and order is still a big problem for the country. Two disciplinary forces themselves had their problems and are not resolved yet. Violence against women and sorcery-related crimes are on the increase.

The results of the 2011 census were published this year. PNG has a population of 7.24 million and 96% are Christians.

I pray that God bless the leaders of our country, of the churches and of other religions in PNG.

I wish everyone A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2015.

Fr.Victor Roche, SVD – General Secretary, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua new Guinea & Solomon Islands.


Appeal for Nimoa

Alotau – “I launch an emergency appeal for the people of the Southeast of my diocese, Alotau. Thousands of people are suffering from a severe shortage of food and are starving because of Ita cyclone, which hit the southern coast of the Southeast last April, and destroyed most of their crops”: is the message by Mgr. Rolando C. Santos, C.M, Bishop of Alotau, deeply concerned about a portion of the People of God entrusted to him. “Father Tony Young, MSC, pastor in Nimoa, has worked hard – the Bishop recently said in a statement – in demanding aid and distributing food to about 800 families. We have asked the help of the provincial government of Milne Bay. We are also appealing to local people, asking them to bring aid to the Church in these days of the Christmas novena”, remarked Mgr. Santos. “Caritas Papua New Guinea provided humanitarian aid last May. However it is especially in this period that the people of Nimoa is experiencing a situation of serious need. We renew the appeal to the Caritas network but also to all other dioceses and institutions. We welcome any form of support”.


From Myanmar to PNG

By Fr Robert Moe – Goodenough Island, MBP

Fr Robert Moe, an ethnic Kaya from the mountains of Myanmar, a country where Catholics are 1% of the population, discovered his vocation as a seminarian and became a missionary. The journey of the 35-year-old priest reflects the fate of the Church in Myanmar, which is marking the 500th anniversary of its first evangelization this year and with the rest of the country is now opening up to the world.

Fr Robert, tell us about yourself

I was born in 1979. I entered the diocesan seminary in Myanmar at 14. In 2003 I met some of the PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) fathers who were teaching there. I particularly remember a talk with Italian Fr Adrian Pelosin. At that time, he was working in Thailand, but he often came to see us. That year, he spoke to us about the life of a missionary, about his work. This generated a desire in me for the missions outside the boundaries of my diocese. Fr Adrian told us that “if you become a missionary, you cannot count on staying in your country, tribe, diocese or family. They send you out of your culture and geographical boundaries, because this is the missionary vocation”. That sparked my interest even more. I was struck by Fr Adrian’s experience, the way he was living his charisma, his relationship with the Buddhists, his love and concern for street kids. After talking with our bishop, three of us from the diocese of Loikaw made the decision to join PIME.

What did your missionary experience give you?

I suggested to my superiors to send me to Papua New Guinea because I loved forests more than cities. But when I arrived I noticed the difference. In my home State of Kaya there are mountains. In Milne Bay there is only water; you go on the sea, by boat. I went to Watuluma at Goodenough Island. I found it hard to adapt to the local way of thinking. There, the priest must do a bit of everything. The priest must sometimes be a judge, sometimes a teacher. So I often feel unable to take on all these roles. In addition, the culture is different. Sometimes you say something and locals understand something else. It is a cultural shock. Anyway, I am glad for these years.

With all the needs one can see in Myanmar, what is the point of going on mission elsewhere?

My friends asked me that same question several times. I myself tried to find an answer. In Myanmar, Christians (Protestants and Catholics) are at best five per cent of the population. In Papua New Guinea most people are Christians. We are here to help the local Church grow and mature. For my part, I do what other missionaries have done, when they brought the faith to Myanmar. I received the faith because others made this choice before me, abandoning their country and their people. They came to us to pass on the faith. Now it is up to us to pass it on ourselves. In my diocese and in my country, we need to understand the urgency of passing on the faith to the world. This is why I am here. (