Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By CNA/EWTN News

1/29/2014 (8 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 (8 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 October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Many locals resigned to the volcanic destruction of their Hawaiian town Watch

Image of Lava from the Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii threatens to destroy the village of Pahoa and now it sits within 100 yards of the first house.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lava from the Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii is threatening to destroy the village of Pahoa, just 20 miles south of Hilo, and on October 28 the lava flow made it's first inroads into the town proper by destroying a shed in the morning; now it sits within ... continue reading


While ISIS makes advances in Iraq and Syria, China fears potential Islamic revolution in western provinces Watch

Image of Chinese and Pakistani soldiers conduct a cooperative, joint-border patrol. China has large borders with Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, India and numerous smaller countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

China has begun to enforce and implement strict border security in an attempt to halt the travel of Islamic extremists between the Middle East and Southeast Asia. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This move follows reports that Uyghurs-a Muslim minority group in ... continue reading


MASSIVE FAILURE - Good money after bad in Obama opium strategy Watch

Image of Afghan farmers work their fields, just as they have since the time of Alexander the Great.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Despite American and Coalition expenditures in Afghanistan, that country has produced a record crop of opium. The crop is important because it is often used to finance extremism in the far-flung region. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The United Nations Office on ... continue reading


Six times as many people are executed in China as the rest of the world COMBINED Watch

Image of New figures show that China may execute six times as many people as the rest of the world combined.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Dui Hua Foundation, a San Francisco-based human rights group, said that China executed 2,400 prisoners last year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Chinese government is sensitive about their executions, though the number of executed prisoners has decreased ... continue reading


How would you like to handle acid with your bare hands? For many in Bangladesh, this is their only option Watch

Image of A Bangladesh man handling toxic material without any protective equipment.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is a dark side in the growing labor sector of Bangladesh, one that makes workers look decades older than they are. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sharif Hossain is just one of the workers affected. The 35-year-old has worked in the city of Old Dhaka's ... continue reading


New Indonesian president promises a 'people-centric' government Watch

Image of Indonesia's new president, Joko Widodo, during his inaugural parade.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Indonesia got a new president, Joko Widodo, a 53-year-old man who was sworn in on October 20 after Bambang Yudhoyono stepped down after having served two five-year terms. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The man from the Javan slums already has a plan for his ... continue reading


Even state-recognized church in China targeted for persecution Watch

Image of The Chinese government has infringed upon the freedom of its citizens, including gross violations of human rights and targeting churches.

By CNA/EWTN News

The state of religious freedom in China is moving from bad to worse, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), responding to a new report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. (CNA/EWTN News) - "There's a huge gulf now" between China and the Catholic ... continue reading


Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death by hanging on blasphemy charges Watch

Image of In spite of international outrage and hundreds of thousands of people signing a petition for her release, Asia Bibi lost an appeal to have her sentence overturned. She now faces death by hanging.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Pakistani Christian woman has been sentenced to death by hanging following accusations that she made blasphemous comments about the prophet Mohammed. While harvesting berries in 2009, 46-year-old Asia Bibi got into a fight with a group of Muslim women who ... continue reading


Persecuted Indonesian Christians worship in strip mall Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Evangelical Christian Church in Bekasi, Indonesia is held in a most unusual place. Driven from traditional houses of worship on account of hardline Islamists, many Christians here have taken to worshiping in out-of-the-way places, such as this strip mall.  LOS ... continue reading


It's getting harder to be a Christian in Indonesia - hardline Muslims prevent the opening of churches, burn others Watch

Image of Indonesian Muslims demonstrate against Christians on Christmas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians in Indonesia are facing increasing persecution as hardline Muslims gain more influence in government. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country and is moving increasingly towards Sharia law. JAKARTA, INDONESIA (Catholic Online) - Indonesia is the ... 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, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

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

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... 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