Fiji prelate calls for "people's covenant"

A "moral vision" that will inspire people and respect differences in a society free from corruption and racial discrimination should form the basis of a "people's covenant" for a new democratic Fiji, according to Suva Archbishop Petero Mataca.

Writing in the Fiji Times, Archbishop Mataca said that two significant issues have emerged in Fijian national life.

"One, is the proposal by the interim Government titled, 'Building a Better Fiji for All Through a People's Charter for Change and Progress' and two, rebuilding our democracy," he said.

Citing the example of American democracy, Archbishop said that significant political change may emerge from actions once considered illegal.

Referring to racial tensions, he called for "respect for and tolerance of ethnic and religious diversity, human dignity, equality and freedoms, and discussions on how to shape a future Fiji society that is welcoming of those who are different, are less urgent and attractive".

The proposal for a "people's charter" needs "a moral vision that will inspire all of us to contribute to the common good of our nation, Archbishop Mataca said.

"This vision needs to be articulated and written in the heart of every man, woman and child in Fiji. We all need to have a sense of being part of the Fiji public, not only the urban dwellers," he said.

"The charter, in my view, should be renamed as the 'people's covenant'.

"The word 'covenant', is like a social contract; it is life-long and should be from one generation to the next.

"It reminds us that we are guardians or stewards of the past for the sake of the future, and holds us to the consequences of our actions. The charter, then, should be a document that binds all of us into a social commitment to one another.

"The word covenant also speaks to the spiritual dimension," Archbishop Mataca continued, "the covenant we make with each other also includes God as the third party to the covenant".

"Because of this, our striving to be faithful and committed to the covenant we enter into with each other will not be left to chance but to our conscious effort to make it work."

Reflections on democracy (Fiji Times, 3/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
2006 Fijian coup (Wikipedia)
Archbishop Petero Mataca (Wikipedia)
Suva Archdiocese (Catholic-Hierarchy)

No sanctions for Fiji, Archbishop pleads (CathNews, 15/12/06)
Fiji Archbishop calls on Catholics to fast and pray (CathNews, 6/12/06)
Catholic Church condemns coup (CathNews, 29/5/00)

3 Jul 2007