Priorities and Problems of Papua New Guinea

Catholic Conferees Say Family and Youth Are Key in Pastoral Work

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RABAUL, Papua New Guinea, JULY 19, 2004 ( Church and diocesan officials in Papua New Guinea assailed the divisions and economic and power interests that affect the ruling class, and Parliament in particular.

At a recent general assembly, the delegates in a statement said the fallout from these problems include the neglect of outlying regions, a lack of education for young people, and a shortage of health services.

On a positive note, the conferees said that family life and youth are the Church’s priorities in this South Pacific archipelago.

The general assembly stressed that a good family foundation, involving the guidance of both parents, is the key to social and spiritual harmony, according to a statement sent to ZENIT.

More than 150 delegates, including priests, religious, lay people, catechists and health care workers, from the country’s 19 dioceses, had the opportunity to analyze the situation of an ecclesial community that has 1.3 million faithful out of a total population of 5 million.

The dioceses spent a year and a half preparing for the general assembly, which identified the priorities for the Church in the country, including education, formation of the clergy and laity, and the struggle against AIDS.

Christian confessions, particularly the Catholic Church, carry out a key role, supplementing the inability of the state to manage the education of young people on its own.

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