O’Neill welcomes Ribat’s appointment as Cardinal

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed and praised the appointment of the Archbishop of Port Moresby, Sir John Ribat as Cardinal of the Catholic Church.

Papua New Guinea has more than 3 million Catholics. 

The Archbishop of Port Moresby is the first Papua New Guinean to be evaluated to become a cardinal, and the appointment is done by the Pope.

Immediately below the Pope in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church are the cardinals.

The primary responsibility of a cardinal is to elect a new pope when a pope dies or abdicates the papacy.

Also cardinals have many responsibilities.

Prime Minister O’Neill said the elevation of Archbishop Ribat to Cardinal on Nov 19 will be a time of national pride.

“Ours is a deeply Christian nation, and regardless of denomination, all Papua New Guinean Christians can be proud of our first Cardinal, Sir John Ribat.

"Cardinal Ribat will continue to provide spiritual guidance and direction, as he has done through his life, but now to a much larger flock.

“His new role is an enormous undertaking and will change the lives of so many around the world.”

"We look forward to the next opportunity when Cardinal Ribat is able to celebrate Mass in Papua New Guinea,” O’Neill said.

Meanwhile, a humble cardinal Sir Ribat said “If it is the will of God, then may he give me his grace and strength to fulfil this course and carry out this responsibility.

“I am grateful to accept this call and this appointment may come as personal but it is really for the Church and for our people of PNG.

“It is a great witness to the call of God to all of us Christians and it is a blessing for the Church and for our nation.

Charles Yapumi