PAPUA NEW GUINEA CATHOLICS PUSH TO END POLYGAMY

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RABAUL, Papua New Guinea (April 15, 1999 - The National)---Polygamy must vanish.

That is the blatant message that the Catholic Church is preparing to give the Prime Minister when he visits here to attend the 40th Conference of the Catholic Bishops of PNG and the Solomon Islands.

Catholic Conference General Secretary Fr. Henk Kromenberg, at the conference venue at Vunapope, said polygamy was one of the issues that attracted the attention of over 20 bishops from PNG and two bishops from the Solomon Islands since the conference started last week Saturday.

Fr. Henk said that the bishops were aware that there would be opposition from certain people but he said the church would not support the existence of a practice that was responsible for serious social disorder, mainly a breakdown in family relations.

He said this time the bishops were preparing a statement to urge leaders in the top decision making level to take the initiative in terms of condemning polygamy through legislation.

"The statement on this issue will be made to the government with the aim of urging all top leaders to support the idea of outlawing polygamy. The leaders must be examples in this regard before others," Fr. Henk said.

He said other important issues that the bishops were looking at include rape, Bougainville, and the state of the nation.

Fr. Henk said the Bishops were also ready to make their position on the respective issues known to the Prime Minister when he visits them at the meeting tomorrow at Vunapope Catholic Mission station near Kokopo town.

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