Boroko (Agenzia Fides) - "While we remember the freedom for which our founding fathers worked to bring our people and our nation where we are today, it is also important to recognize and respect our national Constitution". This is how Paul Harricknen, lawyer and president of the "Catholic Professionals Society" of Papua New Guinea expressed himself on the occasion of the Eucharistic celebration held yesterday, September 16, at St Joseph's Boroko parish, for the 45th anniversary of the Country's independence .
"The Constitution was the key document on which our founding leaders worked to achieve the goal" continues Harricknen in the note sent to Fides, inviting "the people and leaders of this proud nation to recognize and honor the national Constitution" . "Wherever there are human rights violations, the Constitution protects the abused. Ordinary people rely on it to combat the excessive and illegal use of power against their human rights and their freedom", says the Catholic leader.
Harricknen also stressed that "along with recognizing the founding fathers of independence, we must remember the women and mothers who stood by men and contributed in one way or another to the foundation of our beautiful nation. Women are always next to men", he added. "The Constitution - he continues - must not be treated as an ordinary law of Parliament. It preserves and carries with it the wisdom of our founding fathers and mothers that we last generations must embrace with respect and caution".
Addressing the Catholic faithful present at the celebration, the president of the Catholic Professionals Society recalled that the Church, through the then Prime Minister Michael Somare, together with Fr. John Momis, Meg Taylor and Bernard Narokobi, and many others behind the scenes, made a substantial and crucial contribution to the definition of the Constitution. "The Catholic Church was there, alongside the governments of PNG and Australia to help define independence. The partnership between State and church was the cornerstone of the nation's foundation, and it must continue to grow. The Church cannot be just a body that offers services, but a partner to consult on policies and laws. What we need - Harricknen insists - is a renewed level of enthusiasm and zeal, to generate passion and hope for our country".
On September 16, 1975, Papua New Guinea gained full independence from Australia, and Michael Somare became Prime Minister of the newly established nation. Papua New Guinea remains part of the Commonwealth. It currently has a population of just seven million who speak 850 different languages. It is the country with the largest number of languages in the world. The official languages are Hiri Motu, Tok Pisin, Papua New Guinean and English. More than 90% of the population are Christians. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 17/9/2020)