VATICAN QUERIES POLITICAL POST OF FIJI ARCHBISHOP

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By Frederica Elbourne

SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 29) – The Vatican's representative in the Pacific, Archbishop Charles Balvo, wants an explanation from the head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Petero Mataca, on his decision to co-chair the People's Charter.

Archbishop Balvo, the Wellington-based Papal Nuncio or ambassador general of the world's largest Christian denomination, said he had faxed a letter to Archbishop Mataca on Friday following the media hype over the issue. He said he needed more information on the purpose of the People's Charter.

"I wrote to him seeking information after I saw something about it in the paper," he said. "I have written to him asking that he explain the purposes and work involved in this, in case someone from Rome asks me."

Vicar-General Father Beni Kaloudau will confirm today if the letter has been received by the Fiji church as he was out of the office on Friday.

Former Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck yesterday hailed Archbishop Balvo's efforts, saying Fiji and the Catholics needed to know where the Church of Rome stood. Mr Zinck was part of a group, including two ousted SDL ministers that visited Archbishop Mataca to ask him to step down as co-chair to keep the independence of the Catholic Church.

"I know the man (Archbishop Balvo), I've met him," he said. "It's a good move, it's good of him. We will respect their stand. We are universal. Rome has a political relationship with Fiji through the Holy See.

Last week, Archbishop Mataca apologised to those who felt he had wronged them by accepting a post on the People's Charter.

He said he wanted to contribute to building a better Fiji, Rotuma, Rabi and Kioa.

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