WelCom May 2018:
Human rights, climate change and environmental protection topped the agenda as more than 70 bishops from across Oceania gathered for meetings in Port Moresby from April 11‒18.
The four-yearly Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) is a meeting of the four bishops’ conferences of New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
‘Care of our Common Home of Oceania: A sea of possibilities’ was the theme. The bishops were joined by a number of international experts as they studied the environmental and social challenges they are facing and tried to find concrete solutions to the needs across the Pacific region. Discussions included displacement, social unrest, climate change and harmful environmental practices such as deep-sea bed mining and overfishing.
In a keynote address Holy See secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin challenged the Church to identify and promote true alternatives to harmful ways of life that prevailed in society. Cardinal Parolin shared his reflection on Laudato Si’ and called on bishops to fight the ideology of individualism that harmed people and the environment, and to do all possible to overturn the globalisation of indifference. In today’s world, he said, frontiers cannot be places behind which we hide from global responsibility.
Assembly Executive Member, Bishop Charles Drennan said he was delighted that Cardinal Parolin was speaking on Laudato Si’. He said the Cardinal’s voice ‘echoed Pope Francis’ voice and gestures for justice and care of our planet home’.
Bishop Charles was elected unanimously as Vice-President of FCBCO. Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, Suva, was elected the new President, taking over from Cardinal John Ribat, PNG. The next Oceania assembly of bishops will take place in Fiji in 2022.
The Catholic Leader