Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By CNA/EWTN News

1/29/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Many Papuan Christians integrate indigenous beliefs and practices into their religious rites

Observing World Communications Day, Papua New Guinea Catholics gathered with local media to discuss charges of sorcery there, which often end in violence against the accused. "Church and Media - A Joint Reflection on Sorcery" was held January. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists, in Boroko, a suburb of the capital, Port Moresby.

Kepari Leniata, 20, was stripped, tortured, bound, doused in petrol and set on fire on a rubbish heap in the Western Highlands town of Mount Hagen. Police said she was accused of sorcery by relatives of a boy, 6, who died in Mount Hagen's hospital the day before.

Kepari Leniata, 20, was stripped, tortured, bound, doused in petrol and set on fire on a rubbish heap in the Western Highlands town of Mount Hagen. Police said she was accused of sorcery by relatives of a boy, 6, who died in Mount Hagen's hospital the day before.

Highlights

By CNA/EWTN News

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/29/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Papua New Guinea, sorcery, violence, blackmail


(CNA/EWTN News) - The social communications office of the bishops' conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands hosted the conference for Papuan journalists.

The Melanesian nation consists of the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, as well as numerous other, smaller, islands, and is located north of Australia and east of Indonesia. Nearly all its population is Christian; and 27 percent is Catholic, yet many Papuan Christians integrate indigenous beliefs and practices into their religious life.

Help our brothers and sisters in the Philippines by going here --

Many Papuans believe in sorcery, and those accused of practicing it - a majority of who are women - are at times subject to mob attacks and murder.

The conference featured a presentation by an Italian missionary and sociologist, Fr. Franco Zocca, who discussed the Church's attitude toward magic and sorcery, as well as data collected by the Melanesian Institute, which studies indigenous cultures of the region.

Fr. Zocca coordinated a four year research study on sorcery in Papua New Guinea, and told conference attendees that "only scientific enlightenment and a massive education effort can help overcome sorcery beliefs" in the country.

The conference included talks by Church leaders who shared their knowledge of sorcery in the area, their assessment of its consequences, and strategies that could counteract frivolous accusations and unjust punishment of alleged sorcerers and witches.

At its conclusion, Bishop Rochus Tatamai of Bereina said Mass for all those attending the event, preaching on the life and writings of St. Francis de Sales.

The topic of sorcery is an important one in Papua New Guinea. According to Human Rights Watch, at least nine women were attacked after being accused of witchcraft in 2013; an improvement from the more than 50 sorcery related deaths which occurred in 2008.

Some indigenous Papuans do not believe in misfortune and accidents, and attribute them to sorcery, while the accusation can also be used for revenge or envy. Amnesty International reports that women are six times more likely to be accused of sorcery than are men.

In February 2013, 20 year old Kepari Leniata was stripped and then burned to death as a witch after a six year old child died in her city.

A 1971 Sorcery Act criminalized the practice of sorcery in Papua New Guinea, and accepted the accusation of sorcery as a defense in cases of murder; that act was repealed in May, 2013.

Yet the act's appeal was accompanied by a new law which included sorcery-related killings among crimes penalized by capital punishment, as well as aggravated rape and armed robbery.

While sorcery-related violence continues to be a problem in Papua New Guinea, the situation has improved in recent years, due in part to the Church's apostolates and evangelization, bringing a change in thought and ways of life through education and catechesis of indigenous Papuans.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Who built this MYSTERIOUS FORTRESS in the middle of a Siberian lake? Watch

Image of Por-Bajin was built 1,300 years ago, but it is unknown by whom or what they did.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists are still hard pressed to reveal a definitive answer to who built a 1,300-year-old structure in Siberia, and for what purpose this walled structure had. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Located on the middle of a Siberian island and enclosed by stone ... continue reading


Desperate for a son, man horrifically buries his 10-year-old daughter alive in India Watch

Image of Abul Hussein despised his 10-year-old daughter, because she wasn't a son.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many parents in India consider their daughters an economic burden, while sons are seen as the breadwinners, according to Daily Mail. Having a son means your legacy lives on. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hatred toward female babies and the huge cultural ... continue reading


There's always the Sun: Bangladesh takes steps to become the 'first solar nation' Watch

Image of The Bangladeshi government aims to provide electricity to all of the country's households by 2021.

By Pantho Rahaman, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Residents of Islampur, a remote village in the northern Bangladeshi district of Naogaon, were stunned one night last summer when the darkness was suddenly illuminated by electric lights coming from a village home. DHAKA, Bangladesh (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... continue reading


Who will win China's war on women? 33 million more men than women in China Watch

Image of China has the largest disparity between men and women; there are 33 million more men than women in China.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

China's ongoing issue with a growing population and a disparity in the numbers between each gender is only getting worse; as 2014 there were 33 million more men in China than women. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - China's longstanding family restrictions and ... continue reading


India turns on Christians; 2014's wave of religious terror leaves many fearing state-sponsored persecution to come Watch

Image of 2014 saw a wave of violence in India as Hindu nationalists targeted Christians. Five people died and thousands were subjected to violence.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last year was not a great year for Christianity. Persecution and murder were rampant in the Middle East-especially in Syria and Iraq-throughout Africa and even India. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2014, India saw a wave of violence towards Christians that ... continue reading


Death of the red dragon? Why China's economic boom is about to bust Watch

Image of One of China's many ghost towns. Built at the height of a massive real estate boom, many Chinese cities and suburbs now lay empty.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Long the boogie man of the United States and the west, China's economic growth has slammed to a halt, hitting its slowest rate since 1990. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.S. needn't be afraid of the lurking threat of Chinese economic hegemony, as the Asian ... continue reading


How did President Obama know North Korea was behind the Sony hack? Because we hacked them first! Watch

Image of Access to the Internet is highly limited in North Korea, and only a select few individuals of high rank in the Communist party may access it unfiltered and restricted.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many Internet security experts and firms were quick to question President Barack Obama's claim that North Korea was behind the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment in December of 2014, especially so soon after the hacks took place. But the New York Times has ... continue reading


Barbarically appalling death penalty executions revived in Indonesia, starting with two female drug smugglers Watch

Image of Hurting from drug use, Indonesia begins executing death row drug smugglers.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Six drug smugglers were shot dead by firing squads in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest drug market. 40 to 50 people die each day from drugs in Indonesia, according to the National Anti-Narcotic Agency. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Trying to protect the people ... continue reading


In Manilla, Pope Francis condemns mankind for destroying the environment Watch

Image of Pope Francis wore a rain poncho during much of his time in Manila, and left early to avoid an incoming tropic storm.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There's a new voice speaking out on climate change, as Pope Francis entered the ring, calling on mankind to fulfill the charge they were given by God to steward the world and all of creation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis made his remarks at a ... continue reading


Spread the Reign of Christ Throughout the World! Pope Francis Tells Crowd of 7 Million in the Philippines Watch

Image of May the Santo Nino (Holy Child Jesus) continue to bless the Philippines and may he sustain the Christians of this great nation in their vocation to be witnesses and missionaries of the joy of the Gospel, in Asia and in the whole world.- Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Sometimes, when we see the troubles, difficulties and wrongs all around us, we are tempted to give up. It seems that the promises of the Gospel do not apply; they are unreal. But the Bible tells us that the great threat to God's plan for us is, and always has ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:32-39
32 Remember the great challenge of the sufferings ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40
3 Put your trust in Yahweh and do right, make your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:26-34
26 He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 30th, 2015 Image

St. Aldegunais
January 30: Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter