29 Apr 2002

PNG bishop gives qualified support to priests in politics

3:09 pm on 29 April 2002

The President of the Catholic Bishops conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, Bishop Stephen Reichert, says priests entering politics believe they can make a difference politically.

Five priests are to contest the PNG elections in June in contradiction to Catholic Church law which bans clerics from assuming public offices that involve the exercise of civil power.

But Bishop Reichert says he believes the church should be involved in politics as long as the priest fully understands the social teachings of the church.

"We would like to see them do that as priests in a way that a priest should do as a kind of prophet, someone who knows himself what is right and what is wrong , makes people aware of the situation and of their rights and what ways they can follow in order to bring about change within the society"

Bishop Stephen Reichert.