Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has expressed admiration for the positions and efforts taken by the Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis on issues concerning humanity such as climate change and abortion.
“I have great admiration for the Holy Father’s strong advocacy on humanitarian issues including climate change and the protection of right to life from conception and the efforts he has put into addressing these issues,” the Prime Minister told the Apostolic Nuncio to Solomon Islands, Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, during a courtesy meeting yesterday.
Prime Minister Sogavare said climate change is an issue of great concern to Solomon Islands and more so the smaller Pacific Island states because it impacts on their very survival and the efforts the Holy Father has put into addressing this issue are ‘very encouraging.
He said the seriousness of the threat of climate change to Pacific Islanders shows in the passionate manner in which they speak about this issue to industrialised nations at international foras including the United Nations General Assembly.
The Prime Minister said the position taken by the new United States President, Donald Trump on climate change is a discomfort to Pacific Islanders.
On that note he added, “I know the Holy Father can talk directly to President Trump so I would appreciate if you could get this message across to the Holy Father.”
On the issue of abortion, Prime Minister Sogavare said to him human life begins at conception and the Holy Father’s strong stance against abortion is admirable.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to express gratitude for the significant contribution of the Catholic Church towards Solomon Islands development as well as its strong advocacy on moral values and said as head of Government, he wants to have a strong and cordial working partnership with the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Solomon Islands in response, welcomed the kind remarks the Prime Minister uttered about the Holy Father.
He said the Holy Father has great concern for issues affecting humanity like climate change and abortion and is adamant and precise on his positions on these issues, adding that to the Catholics, ‘life begins in the womb and ends in the grave.’
The Apostolic Nuncio to Solomon Islands said he is pleased with the close working partnership between the Government and the Catholic Church in Solomon Islands and the assistance the Government has provided the church.
On that note, he reiterated the commitment of the Catholic Church to the development of Solomon Islands.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Solomon Islands was accompanied by the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Honiara, Archbishop Christopher Cardone.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Solomon Islands hails from Kerala in Southern India. He is also the Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and is based in Port Moresby.