Church neutral on Referendum: Bishop

The Catholic Church’s stand on the 2019 Referendum is neutral, says Bishop of Bougainville Diocese, Bernard Unabali.

Bishop Bernard was speaking to members of the Our Lady of Assumption Parish Congregation at Hahela on Sunday.

He said it was crucial for a peaceful post referendum transition period.

“We’ll not tell you to vote for independence or vote for autonomy. We’ll only support whatever the outcome is – independence or autonomy,” he told the congregation.

He further said as the Bishop, he will not let his church get involved in politics as it was the work of the government.

“There should be a clear line of demarcation between the church and the government. The church should keep a fair distance from politics and only engage in the spiritual aspects.”

He also highlighted similar events in the world where due to the Roman Catholic Church being deeply engaged in politics, factional conflicts had resulted in violence and killings. 

Next week, representatives from each sector will meet in Tsiroge to draw up plans for a major spiritual reconciliation as a lead-up preparation to the 2019 Referendum.

Some of the spiritual events to take place before the referendum are reconciliation by clans at the village level and a region-wide prayer vigil, to be held on the 14th of June, 2019 – just a day before the crucial vote.

(Bishop Bernard Unabali)

Press release