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PNG bishop sacks would-be MP

A priest contesting the June general elections in Papua New Guinea yesterday admitted lying to his bishop about his political career.

Fr Phillip Sivi admitted falsely telling Bishop of Kerema Paul Marx that he had not nominated. He said he feared the truth could kill the bishop, who had high blood pressure.

But Fr Sivi said it was the people's wish that he entered politics.

``And the wish of the people will always override that of a bishop,'' he said. ``It is a non-issue, as a politician, like a priest of the church, serves the people.''

Fr Sivi is standing for the Peoples Progress Party, led by former prime minister Julius Chan. He is contesting the seat of Mining Minister Chris Haiveta.

Bishop Marx said Fr Sivi was suspended indefinitely, win or lose, saying he was saddened the priest had turned his back on Christ.

``But what saddens me even more is that such a commendable person has to resort to public lies as soon as he enters politics,'' he said.

The Catholic Church of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands
Electoral Commission Papua New Guinea

Herald-Sun (payment required)

24 Apr 2002