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Oceania bishops discuss loss of Catholic identity in public life at Plenary

(Vatican Radio/FIDES) – Knowing how to read the signs of times in the Pacific – this is the theme under discussion during the assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania who are meeting this week in Wellington, New Zealand.

About 80 bishops from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and other nations in the Pacific are attending the assembly.

They are also discussing; the relationship between faith and secularism, evangelization and the issue of immigration policy and detention centers in Australia.

"It is a unique time of prayer, fellowship, reflection and discussion on topics which concern all of us. It is a valuable opportunity for collegial support for one another as bishops", said the Archbishop of Wellington, John Dew, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of New Zealand and the Federation. The assembly, which is held every four years, will allow Catholic bishops from across the region to discuss issues and challenges facing the Church in Oceania. The Archbishop remarked that the general theme proposed for the reflection will be "evangelisation in the spirit of Pope Francis " and "no doubt much of the spirit of these formal and informal conversations will come from the Holy Father’s inspiring exhortation Evangelii Gaudium". The bishops are also expected to discuss the results of the survey on family life ahead of the synod in Rome in October.

Among the pastoral themes at the center of the assembly: innovative and very effective ways of helping the students to pray and to practise their faith; the loss of Catholic identity in public life, in an increasingly secular society; how to rediscover the desire to give oneself to others. Other two workshops will be dedecated to these topics.