Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By CNA/EWTN News

1/29/2014 (9 months 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 (9 months 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 November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Faithful gather to celebrate 500 years of the Catholic Church in Myanmar Watch

Image of Christianity remains a small minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Catholic Church there begins to celebrate its 500 years there, Christianity remains a small minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. According to a census conducted this year, Catholics number about 750,000 out of a population estimated at just over ... continue reading


China's icy heart? Has the Catholic Church warmed up the Asian superpower? Watch

Image of China has 12 million Catholics, but they are often split between support for the local state-run Church and the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Relations between the Vatican and China have been frosty since the communist takeover in the 1950s, and the Holy See has found it very difficult to warm relations with the Asian superpower. But with an unprecedented proposal from China, all that could very well ... continue reading


Lessons not learned: 132 Indian women sterilized in five hours following tragedy Watch

Image of Senior officials in Ghuvara acknowledged that the family planning camp was organized by government authorities, but refused to speak on record.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nation of India recently saw the deaths of 13 women, with as many as 50 women seriously injured after a hasty mass sterilization camp in Ghuvara in Chhatarpur district. Lessons were not learned, it appears, as another 132 women were reportedly operated upon ... continue reading


Two billion people drink water contaminated by feces Watch

Image of According to WHO, inadequate water supply and sanitation results in annual economic losses of $260 billion.

By Magdalena Mis, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Nearly two billion people use water contaminated by feces, posing a global health risk despite billions of dollars spent on sanitation, said a report published on Wednesday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - One in seven people, mostly poor and living in ... continue reading


Five million people expected in Goa, India to venerate St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The saint, who died in 1552, has his remains preserved in a glass-paneled silver casket and kept inside the 16th-century Basilica of Bom Jesu (Good Jesus).

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five million people are expected to flood Goa, India in order to venerate the remains of 16th century Spanish missionary Francis Xavier. The remains will be on display for 40 days beginning this weekend.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In order to ... continue reading


PHOTO: Baby born with four arms, four legs in India called 'God's baby' Watch

Image of The family understands the excitement and interest in their newest member.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A baby boy born with four arms and four legs is drawing crowds to Baruipur, a city in India's eastern West Bengal State. The child has been called "God Boy" by his parents as he resembles a Hindu deity with multiple arms and legs.  LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Eight reasons why North Korea's leaders should be tried for crimes against humanity Watch

Image of Kim Jong Un could face an international court, however the odds are very slim.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Telegraph has published a list of eight crimes for which North Korea and its leadership could be tried in international court. Although the odds of anyone from North Korea facing such justice are long, the world should be prepared because anything could happen in ... continue reading


Stripped naked, Indian woman forced to parade on donkey through village Watch

Image of Said woman was accused of killing her nephew, Vardi Singh, by his wife and relatives, and found guilty by a council of elders.

By Kieran Guilbert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

A woman in northern India was stripped naked and paraded through her village on a donkey after being accused of murdering her nephew, according to a BBC News report on Monday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The village council in Rajsamand district in ... continue reading


DEPTHS OF DEPRAVITY: Two U.S. men flee Thailand after allegedly shipping BABY PARTS overseas Watch

Image of According to officials, the two men's package included a severed baby's head and a child's left foot cut into three separate pieces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's too early for Christmas - but two American men are on the run after a grisly package that they allegedly shipped from Thailand made it back to the states. According to officials, the men's package included a severed baby's head and a child's left foot cut ... continue reading


One group fights to save the lives of thousands of newborns Watch

Image of In Nepal, superstition and suspicion is being fought with science in order to save the lives of thousands of babies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ongoing campaign in Nepal to cut down on the number of newborn deaths is being carried out by thousands of volunteers, aided by the U.S. Development Agency (USAID). LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Bhumisara Upadhyay is just one of these volunteers, who ... 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, Revelation 11:4-12
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 20:27-40
27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Cecilia
November 22: In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the ... 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