Honiara (Fides Service) – There is concern in the local Catholic Church for the situation in Solomon islands where law and order has not been completely restored. Ethnic and social unrest continues despite the presence of a multi national Australian led peace keeping force. The Islands, a British Protectorate until 1978, are still feeling the effects of civil war 1998-2000 and clashes between rival groups of bandits and militia continue despite peace agreement reached in 2000.
Anxious to contribute towards the return of normality the Catholic clergy, 22 priests, of the Archdiocese of Honiara, meeting at Holy Cross from the 16 to 18 September, 2003 for their regular six-monthly gathering, voiced common concern for their people and how they can best address the situation. They invited Mr. William Morrel, Commissioner of Police for a presentation, discussion and sharing session with them on 18 September. Their discussion have brought out the following statement: “We, the clergy of the Archdiocese of Honiara, in our meeting on September, 16-18, 2003, after prayerfully reflecting on the four pillars of Peace - Truth, Justice, Love and Freedom – commit ourselves and encourage all people to cooperate with the intervention forces (RAMSI) in re-establishing and upholding of the law, ensuring that justice is done through the courts. This is the way to attain genuine justice and peace in our country. Restoring lay and order through the courts will definitely hasten a cure to our brokenness as a nation.”
The priests meet twice a year to evaluate their pastoral ministry, share ideas, programmes and possibilities and look into needs of their people in the Light of the Gospel. Solomon Islands has a population of 440,000 95% Christian, Catholics are about 90,000. PA (Fides Service 19/9/2003 EM lines 38 Words: 478)