“One thing Pope Francis speaks about is the concern for the environment and for those who are suffering. His words are encouraging and are a challenge to me to move forward.”
These were the words of PNG’s first Cardinal of the Catholic Church, in an interview on Monday, 05th of February 2018.
The interview highlighted his first year as Cardinal and his reflections on the example of Pope Francis.
Cardinal Ribat, Archbishop of Port Moresby, was elevated as the first Papua New Guinean Cardinal of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis on the 19th of November 2016.
Thus, when he was asked about Pope Francis’ words and actions that impressed him most over the last five years, he stated:
“Pope Francis sees the whole Church. For Pope Francis, it is important that he brings everyone together. He does not want to see them concentrating on a portion of the church but on the whole Church globally.”
The Cardinal spoke on Pope Francis’ domestic and international apostolic visits and how he prioritises the “peripheries”. He reflected on what this meant to the modern world by saying:
“On the international and national level, the peripheries have been out there and we were always faithful with the church, though we were faraway and perhaps didn’t hear very much.
“For Pope Francis to open that door and to allow that opening to come to us is a great opportunity for us to see that we too can contribute something to the life of the church.”
His reflection continued by gratefully saying:
“To focus on the peripheries shows that we are now accepted as the whole church, we are recognised and now we are brought to the centre.
“We are seen as an important part of the life of the church, we are part of the international community and that is a great thing.”
Cardinal Ribat also touched on a few issues affecting the country. He highlighted issues such as climate change and how it has badly affected many areas of PNG. He also commented on seabed mining and on refugees, reminding our leaders of the long term effects on our people.