Appeal to Public Penance
CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ALOTAU-SIDEIA
Bishop’s House, P.O. Box 107
Alotau 211, Milne Bay Province
Papua New Guinea
Tel: (675) 641-0293 / 641-1354 Mob: 72265717 Fax: (675) 641-1325
26 Aug. 2020
Open Letter to the People of Hagita and Ladava Parish:
An Appeal to Public Penance
This is to condemn in the highest terms the gross and deadly physical assault done on the person of Fr. Neil Lams, inside his house last 14thof August, 2020.
Fr. Neil is a priest and servant of God, a sacred person by virtue of ordination, serving the community of Hagita as school chaplain. Assaulting a sacred minister is to lose all sense of human decency, and a sign of utter disrespect to God himself.
I appeal that those responsible be duly apprehended and brought to justice so that they may reform and not cause any further harm to the innocent.
I also demand that the incident be properly investigated by the parish council of Ladava and the Hagita school board of governors to find out whether there is a connection between the physical assault on Fr. Neil and the alleged demand of the leaders of the eight communities of Ladava parish for the immediate removal of the school chaplain and principal from the school of Hagita. I also ask the parents and community of Hagita to meet, and for the school board of Governors to immediately investigate whether there is any truth or basis to the allegations.
Any complaint on the school chaplain and principal should be brought to the school Board of Governors for just and proper investigation, and not be turned into fuel for gossip and public sentencing. To immediately judge and sentence a person without giving him a chance to be heard is not only to fail in fairness and justice, but also to expose the victims of allegation to danger from the hands of vengeful and misdirected people who might want to take justice into their own hands.
I appeal to the parish of Ladava and the community of Hagita to do public penance on behalf of those responsible for the assault on Fr. Neil Lams so that this wicked and sacrilegious act may never happen again.
Sincerely in Christ,
+Rolando C. Santos, CM
Bishop of Alotau-Sideia