About 100 bishops from Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the Pacific met in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on 11th to 17th April 2018.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State (second in rank to Pope Francis) was the guest of honour and delivered the Keynote Address on the obligation to look after the environment. Three Papal Nuncios from the region also attended. Bishop Peter Stasiuk represented the Ukrainian Eparchy of Oceania.
The meeting was informed that some island nations in the Pacific, which are only a couple of metres above sea level already, are more frequently submerged in the ocean during storms. There are now many refugees from the Pacific who have left their countries because they have lost their homes to the ocean. Some countries may soon cease to exist if the ocean keeps rising as it has lately.
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The Cardinal also warned the meeting that there were other environmental issues, such as over fishing and a new serious problem of deep sea mining for precious metals. This form of mining uses huge machines which tear up the sea floor, extract the minerals, and returns the mulch to the sea floor. This does serious harm to the environment.
The Bishops also discussed the issue of migration and refugees in the area.
During the meeting the Bishops had the pleasure of attending a banquet with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mr Peter O’Neill, and his ministers. In his speech, Mr O’Neill stated that the environment was a serious issue in his country. He thanked the church for its focus. He also stated that PNG was a Christian nation by its constitution and that human rights and dignity were a priority.
Bishop Peter reports that he met with a number of Ukrainians in PNG. These arrivals from Ukraine work in various jobs around the country. There are also Ukrainians from other countries. Some have held very important positions for many years.
Vitaliy and Fabiana, who have hospitality experience from different countries in Asia, head up very important positions in the Airways Hotel one of PNG’s best.
The Federation of Catholic Bishops holds these conferences every four years. Our Eparchy gets a lot of good exposure at them. Many bishops, who know very little about our church, have an opportunity to become acquainted with our church.
This post is also available in: Ukrainian