by Michelle Amba – EM TV News, Port Moresby
A 40-year-old Catholic Church located just outside of Port Moresby was demolished in an eviction exercise yesterday. Bisogo Catholic Church had been serving over 1,000 people in the Laloki area of Kairuku-Hiri district since the 1970s.
The land’s new title holder demolished the building without a second thought, with Archbishop of Port Moresby, John Ribat, condemning the actions of those responsible.
“This shows that people do not care about what Christianity and what the church is bringing to the communities. It shows that people put material things ahead of Christian beliefs and teachings,” said Archbishop Ribat.
He added that there was an understanding between the landowners and the church, and the demolition has come as a big surprise to many.
After several attempts to get clarification from the lands department, the church found that the boundaries of the piece of land earlier sold-off were not quite clear.
It seems portion 230 was sold to the aforementioned title holder, and the church sits on portion 292. The church says there must have been some misunderstanding resulting in the demolition of their building.
“It is not clear to us whether the land is customary land or state land, however more investigations must be conducted to clarify these doubts,” said the Archbishop.
The damage though appears to have been done, and the church will be working in close consultation with the lands department to see how this can be resolved.
The demolition will now see hundreds of church-goers now having to travel to a new site for Sunday service, which would be located at Bomana.