Church history and the Catholic Church Mission in Tonga: Looking Afresh at Early Missionary Approaches

by Viliami Kiola

Date added: 28/06/2017

No comments in this article yet.     Start the discussion >>     (You need to log in first.)


Mission of the Church in Tonga

by Viliami Kiola, Ordinand training for the Catholic Priesthood at the Pacific Regional Seminary, Suva     









The world has changed and the change affects the church today. The Church, the people of God, the community of believers in Jesus Christ, is by her very nature sent to the world (Mk. 16:15). The need to look at the mission of the church in a changing society is an urgent need.

This paper describes the mission of the Catholic Church in Tonga, to re-evangelise, and revisit our mission because the mission of yesterday is different to the mission of the church in today’s world.

This paper will also point out the reasons why we need to revisit our mission in today’s world according to the wave of changes. The last part of the paper will attempt to discuss the possible solutions for what Church leaders and we, as Christians, can do to accommodate the wave of changes and its effect.


History is very vital for our identity, faith and our culture. In order for us to deeply understand what happen in our land and the situation of faith, we have to revisit our history with a critical mind and a systematic analysis to overturn every stone to see both negative and positive aspects of our history. This chapter focuses on the history of Christianity in Tonga and the approaches of the early missionaries in their attempt to establish the mission in Tonga.

1.1        Tongan traditional belief

Before Christianity anchored on the shores of Tonga, the people of Tonga had already known gods. They believed that there was something beyond the fog of reality which human minds cannot fully understand but only the heart can explain. It made our ancestors searched for an answers for these unknown ‘something’, to justify what the mind could not explain but only the heart could. This feeling and idea we believed brought forth the spiritual faith to our ancestors. These longings and hungers for spiritual fulfilment made the Tongans acknowledged visible signs to explain the invisible realities. Therefore, they prayed to many known gods, such as the main three gods: Maui, the gods of Earth, Tangaloa the gods of the sky and Hikule’o the god of Pulotu. They established gods for their respective tribe to protect them. For example, Taufa’ahau who became the first Tu’i Kanokupolu and united Tonga (and is known as the ‘Conqueror’) had an old god Haehaetahi.[i]

1.2       A brief history of Catholicism in Tonga

“Explorers of those days were searching for land to establish colonies and to convert the inhabitants to Christianity.”[ii] Since these explorers arrived in the Pacific around 1615, and later on Captain Cook in 1773, 1774 and 1777 in his visit to Tonga, they wrote a letter of explanation and subsequently reported to England about the superstitious beliefs, human sacrifices and widow strangling in the Pacific islands, including Tonga. These factors stirred up the evangelicals in England to evangelise the islander.[iii]

The first arrival of the Catholic missionaries in Tonga was on the 23 of October, 1837 and they landed on the island of Vava’u,[iv] however they were not accepted by the people of Vava’u. Upon an invitation from some relatives of the chief of the village of Pea, Moeaki, the Roman Catholic mission in Lakeba, Fiji, the mission made their second attempt and settled at Pea.[v] Although they faced a lot of problems and made little progress they managed to contribute and started the Catholic mission in Tonga.

1.3       The approaches of the early Catholic Missionaries

History shows that the French Navy were behind all of Catholicism in Tonga, for it was stated clearly that the ships’ captain, “Count du Bouzet, warned the chiefs of the consequences of further hostilities towards the catholic missionaries.”[vi] He also recommended to the chiefs that they should allow the Marist to establish a base in Tonga. When the first Marist missionaries went to Pea, the ideas behind it were very clear.

Firstly, according to the source, it seemed that they went there because the people of Ha’a Havea[vii] did not like the Protestant religion and the same people were also against Taufa’ahau. Therefore they (chiefs of Pea), invited the Marists to come there not because they wanted to be Catholic but to protect them by using the French navy from Taufa’ahau and his Protestant religion. It was clearly stated in the words of Fifita’ila, a Tongan chief from Pea who asked “Pompallier to provide some support for his people to resist Taufa’ahau who was trying to force all of Tonga to embrace the Protestant religion.”[viii] The Marists saw this invitation as a chance to establish the Catholic mission in the island and they embraced it.

Secondly, their mission was to avoid the Protestants from taking Tonga. When the report reached Rome that the Protestants covered the Pacific, they made a decision to send some missionaries to the Pacific. In those days the Protestants originated from England while the Catholics were from France. According to the source that we have, after studying the history of Christianity in Tonga, political issues were also interfering behind this chaos. The Methodists also did not want the Catholics in Tonga and mostly in the Pacific as happened in Fiji in 1854.  However when the Catholics arrived in Tonga, the Protestants tried their very best to ward them off by misleading the people with false accusations about the Marists and Catholics. “The destruction of Pea was meant to finish the Ha’a Havea and also to destroy Catholicism.”[ix] In the end the French Navy was always there when the Marist mission called for help and this assisted in the continuation of the Catholic missions in Tonga.

Settling in Pea, the Catholic mission were thus introducing a fresh element of Catholicism – Protestant rivalry, into the civil wars.[x] For many years the Ha’a Havea clan especially in Pea and in Houma never yielded to Taufa’ahau. However following the close of the “wars of Religion” on Tongatapu in 1852, King George Tupou I (originally known as Taufa’ahau) entered into a treaty with France, ensuring French subjects, including the Marist (Catholic missionaries), protection and the right to reside.[xi] This occurred when the Tu’i Tonga (Laufilitonga) had already became a faithful Catholic as did most of the people of Mu’a. Laufilitonga passed away in 1865.[xii]

2.         THE CHURCH TODAY.

In order for us to understand more about the situation of our Church in today’s world we have to look at her with a critical mind, in faith, to enhance the faith of the faithful. At the same time we have to be aware of the wave of changes that already existed in our midst. This chapter will look at the Church of today, in Tonga, and what is really happening inside and outside of the Church. This chapter discusses some of the key aspects that brought an ideology of individualism into the church and also the reasons why the faith of the people has been constantly changing.

 2.1      Tonga as a Christian State

Tonga is well known as a Christian State. The first two Churches, the Methodist and the Catholics, despite their differences, led the people into Christianity through their own methods of evangelisation. To make it visible to all people that Tonga is a Christian state and had a very strong faith in God in the olden days, we have to look at two main points.

Firstly, the words of King George Tupou I at Pouono, Vava’u in 1839 when he made the declaration that he dedicated the Land and the people of Tonga to God.  In this declaration King George Tupou I stated:

“I George, make known to all the chiefs from every rank and region and to all my people. May you have happiness and satisfaction in what I say?  There is a God of Heaven and Earth. I submit to you He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are secure in the protection of His two hands. O God our Father, I give unto you my land and my people and all generations of people who follow after me. I offer them all to be protected from Heaven.”[xiii]

This very own declaration became the national motto for Tonga.

King George Tupou I, the first King who united all the islands of Tonga simply emphasized in his words and prayer at Pouono, Vava’u, that Tonga is a Christian state. The King’s longing and prayers were that Tonga will always be Christian and be protected by God. Therefore it is our duty in the present days as Christians, to uphold the values and principles of Christianity and make it into the essence of our being.

Secondly, the Coat of Arms of Bishop Patelesio Finau. When Fr. Finau SM became the Bishop of Tonga and Niue, he emphasized to the Church and all Christians that our first mission is to evangelise ourselves and that this evangelisation is an ongoing process. The late Bishop also emphasised that we have to put the principles of Jesus Christ into our hearts and make them become ours.[xiv] He continued to state that in this way we can see life through the eyes of Jesus and consequently we will act, feel and judge according to the very core of our existence as followers of Jesus Christ.

King George Tupou I and Bishop Patelesio Finau showed us that Tonga was very much committed to its faith in the olden days. However, the waves of change make their impact as time changes.

2.2          Changing Factors.

The ‘good old days’ of Christianity are slowly fading away in Tonga and will continue to do so if we as Christians do not pause and relook at the present problems which the Church faces. Without doubt, changes do bring both positive and negative impact. The questions that most Christians should ask is “Are we ready to accept these changes?” And most importantly - “What can the Church do with these changes?”

Changes bring both negative and positive contributions to Tonga. These changes brought forth from various causes. However this chapter will only focus on the negative side only on two of these ‘causes’ which brought ashore changes to our island of Tonga.

2.2.1    Migration

Since Tonga has no natural resources, migration becomes the solution. People migrate for a better future and better life. Tongans are looking for better lives, including work opportunities, and a better future for the children and for advancement. Many are weary because of poverty, too many burdens, and are looking for a freer life.[xv] From these answers we can conclude that people are looking for something to satisfy their needs: viscerogenic or psychogenic, proactive or reactive, modal or effect, overt or covert. Migration has many advantages, such as remitting money to help families and also the country. They bring a valued source of income.

However, migration has its negative impact. Migration affects our culture as our identity. Bishop Finau once said that no culture is virgin. Our culture somehow solidifies our beliefs and our values into our hearts and expresses them into reality.

Since migration happened on our shores, our culture changed. Our “faa’i kavei koula” (Four Golden Pillars) which are respect, humility, commitment and loyalty which should defines us as Tongans, have somehow been diminished in Tongans’ practices (‘ulungaanga). These four important pillars to the Tongan, will have no meaning in the future if we do not address issues of faith and our identity as soon as possible. For as it was before, the tapu (taboo) was very strict, such as we cannot wear certain clothes in public and the words we use must be respectful. But in today’s reality, most Tongans dress in the way they like and speak however they want. Our four golden pillars will have no value soon. When migration destroys our culture it will also destroy our values, faith and eventually our true identity as Tongan.

Migration westernizes our culture. The Tongans imitate what they see overseas and they are fashioned by their surroundings and environment. When they return to Tonga, they practice what they observe overseas. This attitude changes our culture.

Another disadvantage of migration is broken relationships. Broken families are enormously increasing due to migration as Bishop Finau mentioned “broken families, separation, divorce and the lack of family security for many of our children. The realities of the exodus are: separation from loved ones, deaths, the huge pressure on illegal migrant, even the loss of one’s spirit.”[xvi] In this sense, family life is totally disturbed by the action of the migration. Family is the fundamental unit of the church, therefore a broken family will eventually result in a broken Church.

2.2.2    Secularization


 “King George Tupou I dedicated Tonga to God and his motto was: ‘Otua mo Tonga ko hoku Tofi’a – “God and Tonga are my inheritance.”[xvii] Since then, every Tongan has ever proudly and fervently claimed to own this very idea.


Tonga is known as a Christian island nation. Secularization refers to the “independence of culture from Christianity”. Promoters of secular ideologies believes they are the defenders of modern values such as human rights, freedom and equality. This influences the life of Tongans. It challenges the Church and her mission since science and technology become the backbone of secularization.”[xviii] It leads the Church to become a private affair.


Since the Church is so conservative and traditional, secularization provides a way and encourages people to have a playful freedom. It reaches to the point that secularization defends human rights in a different sphere from the Church and results in a better standard of living. This indicates that secularization is the fruit of the high standard of living now enjoyed by many Tongans. Rich people have stopped looking for God because society could already satisfy their needs.[xix] The modern Churches in their typical publications send a clear message that, “no more need for time consuming and costly traditional religious-spiritual formation as practised in the historic mainline Churches, since the new products promise the user immediate maximal success in a minimum of time, at low cost.”[xx] The modern Churches are more secular in their approach of mission.


Secularization becomes an indication that “no church can meet the needs of all people, and no single denomination can offer the full range of religious services, for which there is a substantial and increasing market demand.”[xxi] It gives religious freedom which indicates the influx of new sects and the decreasing of the mainline Churches. Secularization also provides people with lens through which to view to modernity and religions as paradoxical. It seems that modernity lessen the values of religion. It affects the Church and she loses the contest for popular public opinion.[xxii] The consequence is the slow losing of the sense of God in the daily living of today’s situations. 


Tonga is moving towards secularism. One specific example is television. Tongans are getting more at home with televisions which replace prayer services on Sunday. The sacredness of Christian belief is losing its significance and its values. The focus is more on technologies and science with an underlying principle that as long as people live peacefully, they are fine. It indicates that the Church needs to be more open to secularization in her missions. Where there is a television, there are people. Today, almost every home has its television, and it attracts people rather than the Church service.




The society has changed so fast while the Church, in general, chooses to remain with the status quo. The people become the victims for they are the same people who serve the Church and society. Therefore, the Church is called to revisit her mission. The Church needs to go back to dialogue and inculturation.


3.1       Re – evangelisation  

In the 1970s the Church was so sacred. The late Bishop Patelesio Finau deeply articulated this in his coat of Arms - “It is ours” – so that Tonga already knew that there is a One True God. Christianity in Tonga already existed and was functioning well. People of Tonga were people of prayer as shows in its 1875 Constitution of Tonga that Sunday is taboo.[xxiii] Every one of every age participated in the Sunday service or the Eucharistic celebration. Sunday in Tonga was a Holy day; no business was allowed to be open except for the Hospital and the Ministry of Defence. Bishop Patelesio Finau urged the people of Tonga through this Coat of Arms “It is ours,” to own Christianity by putting into practice what we believed in.

We are the Church and we fully belong to the Church, therefore we need to fully participate and be responsible for our actions. It is also a matter of unity, we believed in Jesus Christ: we have to be united in Him as one body. In that sense, we meet the teaching of the Church that the union of the family of man is greatly consolidated and perfected by the unity which Christ established among the sons of God.[xxiv]

3.2       Revisit our mission

Because of the above statements we now see some of the reasons why the faith of the Tongans is fading away. This is the very reason why we need to do something in time otherwise we lose the most precious treasure of our lives “Our Faith and our God”. In order for us to regain our faith we have to deepen it first by revisiting the essence of our mission and re-evangelising our people again and again. It is not only the youth of today who are moving towards secularism and the ideology of individualism and the world of pleasure but it also has an impact on family life and on the spiritual life of all humanity.

Some of the Church leaders should stand up to do their duties, to re-evangelise the people of God rather than just being ‘heavenly Christians’. ‘Heavenly Christians’ means they are not really concerned about the difficult and challenging matters of this world and the justice in it, but are day dreaming.[xxv] Our people already knew God because of their upbringing, but the calling to re-evangelise is to deepen the faith of the people and give meaning to their faith. To help them understand that Christ is with us and always will be because “He is always present in a body of the faithful gathered in His name (Mt. 18:20). Let all Church Leaders put the Word of God into reality. To find ways to deepen their faith to be more meaningful to both uneducated and the educated people, to the children, the youth and the ageing and to the poor and the rich.

We are going through a time of “fast social changes in Tonga, of greater political awareness and constructive questioning”.[xxvi] In the present times, people are well educated and their questions about faith are also really deep and very well constructed. This is a very good challenge for Church Leaders. Church leaders need to be better prepared and ever ready by doing further studies in their mission to lighten the burden of our people rather than mislead them due to their misunderstanding.

It is also very clear that our forefathers were people of “What” in according to our faith. But the people of today are people of “WHY”. This is not a new thing that we should be surprised of but we should ask ourselves why these new generations ask a lot of questions and do things differently from what our ancestors did. These are welcome questions of understanding seeking faith and faith seeking understanding. Most of our people today are looking for something in reality that can explain the truth of the invisible reality in order for them to believe. That is one of the reasons Cardinal Paini Mafi, urges the people of Tonga to revisit their mission in order to deepen our faith.

3.3       Dialogue / Ecumenism

In many missionary areas of Oceania, the differences between Churches and Ecclesial Communities have led in the past to competition and opposition. In recent times, however, relationships have been more positive and fraternal. The Church in Oceania has given ecumenism a high priority and has brought a freshness and openness to ecumenical activity. Opportunities are welcomed for "a dialogue of salvation" aimed at greater mutual understanding and enrichment. The strong desire for unity in faith and worship is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to Oceania; and cooperation in areas of charity and social justice is a clear sign of Christian fraternity.[xxvii]


Ecumenism and dialogue in Tonga are very alive. “The Church in Oceania has given ecumenism a high priority and has brought a freshness and openness to ecumenical activities.”[xxviii] This is the advantage of a small island nation. The impact of the culture of angai kainga and mata kainga (friendly) also contributes to the smooth running of the dialogue and ecumenism. However, there are many aspects in ecumenism that need to be addressed in Tonga. One of the aspects is that Tonga needs to have an open church rather than the open door. It challenges ecumenism since the members are only the Churches which believe in Jesus Christ. There are churches and sects which are left out.


Therefore, “the Church considers an essential part of the proclamation of the word to consist in encounter, dialogue and cooperation with all people of good will, particularly with the followers of the different religious traditions of humanity.”[xxix] The Church is called to bring hope to other cultures, religions and societies.  Ecumenism seems a failure when indicated in its definition as being “about the visible unity of a divided Christianity as well as the well-being of the oikos[xxx] of God.”[xxxi] It gives a limited membership to the ecumenical movement. “A still stronger desire for unity in faith will help to keep these communities together.”[xxxii] However, ecumenism needs to cross the boundary and welcome all believers in any religion. This is the weakness of the ecumenical movement in Tonga and the South Pacific. 


In Gaudium et Spes, there is a perception of the world as the whole human family seen in the context of everything which envelops it. In reality, there are many experiences in the world such as the sacred and profane, the supernatural and the natural, the Church and the world. There is a need to reconcile them in a way that the world must realize that we are one. “We are invited to love Him in our neighbour and to communicate the same love through action ... always conscious of our origin which loves itself ... “[xxxiii] This is what we are called to by Jesus.


Ecumenism is focused on unity and harmony. “Ecumenism concerns itself with the formation and education of Christians for the realization of unity among all Christians in the world.”[xxxiv] “The strong desire for unity in faith and worship is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to Oceania.”[xxxv] As Tongans living in a society of differences, it demands oneness. The experiences of differences between Christianity and non-Christian faiths, between the Church as sacred and the world as secular are vividly manifested in the mind of the Tongans. Both the Church and the Government are in the same world, and their functions are to serve the people to the best of their ability. The world is simply God’s world.


However, people have their own beliefs and these needs to be respected. The Church is to be a witness of the unity and oneness of believers. The Church has to be more ecumenical in her approach. “Proclamation and dialogue are, each in its own place, component elements and authentic forms of the one evangelizing mission of the Church.”[xxxvi] The need to unite all human beings is urgent, despite all the differences. This is one of the challenges of today’s mission especially for ecumenism. Ecumenism needs to do more, to bring in other religions as members.


The Gospel message is for people who live in this world irrespective of who they are and what position they may have in society. It is the Church’s mission, therefore, to challenge the people to live in a way that is in harmony with God’s world. “To accept the other as other, to acknowledge the others’ uniqueness, to know and serve the other without expecting the other to serve; we need love.”[xxxvii]


3.4       Inculturation

Our culture is our identity. Most of the traditional rites that we do are more meaningful because we know their value and purpose. Culture is our language, it is what defines us. The culture speaks to the heart of the people. The culture speaks to the heart of the individual. However, some aspects of our culture need to be sanctified in order for the culture to glorify God. The people understand more and appreciate what they do. In that sense, we bring the Gospel closer to our hearts.

The concept of involving our culture into our faith is very simple but it can be misinterpreted if it is not clearly explained. Our culture helps us to bring God closer to our understanding. Therefore there is need to align our culture with God’s culture in order to bring us closer to God.





The findings of this paper are expressed strongly and this is, that the first and foremost mission of the Church is actually to re-visit and re-look at her mission today and put it into practice. Dialogue, ecumenism and inculturation are three of the pillars that can defend our faith from the negative impacts of the waves of change.

There is also the need for us to properly assess changes in the society, with a critical but open mind and seek appropriate actions. With these in mind and without immediate actions the Church will become a private affair in the future, as we are already experiencing it in Tonga today. Some Church leaders are still holding on to our history but I believe that we can write our history now for the future.

We cannot change history but we can reshape our future to become better through unity of all Christianity in dealing with the waves of change through moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, philosophical and ethical unity and upholding the values and principles our faith in God.





































A, Alangaram. Christ of the Asian Peoples: Towards an Asian Contextual Christology. Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 1999.


‘Ahio, Viliami Finau. Melanesian Journal of Theology: Christianity and Taufa’ahau in Tonga: 1800 – 1850, 2007.


Finau, Patelesio. “Some Theological Reflections on Our Complete mission,” in He Spoke the Truth in Love: Selection of His Writings and Speeches, David Mullins, ed., Mt. Roskill, Auckland: Catholic Publications Centre, 1994.


Garret, John. To Live Among the Stars: Christian Origins in Oceania. Suva: Oceania Printed LTD, 1982.


Greiler, Alois. Ed. Catholic Beginning in Oceania: Marist Perspectives, Australia: ATF Press, 2009.

Javier, Edgar G. “Missionary Anthropology” Lectures, Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia. Quezon City, 2010.


Kafoa, Solomon. “Churches Talking Together in and to Oceania: Ecumenism,” Concilium 5 (2010): 67.


Karotemprel, Sebastian. Following Christ in Mission: A Foundational Course in Missiology Pasay City: Paulines, 1996.


Mullins, David. They built a Church: Priests of Tonga R.I.P. Christchurch: St Bede’s College Printery, 2004.


Polynesian Cultural Centre, “Tukufonua – Land Given to God” (The Pacific Institute Brigham Young University: Hawaii, 2007).


Snijders, Jan. A mission too far: Pacific Commitment. Adelaide: ATF Press, 2012.


Tippett, Alan R.  People movements in Southern Polynesia. Chicago: Moody Press, 1971.


Zocca, Franco. “New Caledonia,” in Globalization and the Re-Shaping of Christianity in the Pacific Islands, Manfred Ernst, ed.Suva, Fiji: The Pacific Theological College, 2006.

Post presentation




 [i] Alan R. Tippett, People movements in Southern Polynesia (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), 81.

 [ii] Viliami Finau ‘Ahio, Melanesian Journal of Theology: Christianity and Taufa’ahau in Tonga: 1800 – 1850, 2007, 22.

 [iii] Ibid., 24.

 [iv]  Jan Snijders, A mission too far: Pacific Commitment (Adelaide: ATF Press, 2012), 94 – 95.

 [v] John Garret, To Live Among the Stars: Christian Origins in Oceania (Suva: Oceania Printed LTD, 1982), 77.

[vi] David Mullins, They built a Church: Priests of Tonga R.I.P. (Christchurch: St Bede’s College Printery, 2004), 21p.

[vii] Ha’a Havea is a specific group of chiefs in Tonga and Moeaki, the chief of Pea, was one of the chief members of the Ha’a Havea.

[viii] Ibid., 22.

[ix] Alois Greiler, Ed. Catholic Beginning in Oceania: Marist Perspectives, (Australia: ATF Press, 2009), 175.

[x] Garret, To Live Among the Stars: Christian Origins in Oceania, 77.

[xi] Ibid., 80.

[xii] Tippett, People movements in Southern Polynesia, 104.

[xiii] Polynesian Cultural Centre, “Tukufonua – Land Given to God” (The Pacific Institute Brigham Young University: Hawaii, 2007).

[xiv] Finau, “Some Theological Reflections on Our Complete mission,” in He Spoke the Truth in Love: Selection of His Writings and Speeches, David Mullins, ed. (Mt. Roskill, Auckland: Catholic Publications Centre, 1994), 2.

[xv] Ibid, 167.

[xvi] Finau, “Some Theological Reflections on Migration,” in He Spoke the Truth in Love: Selection of His Writings and Speeches, David Mullins, ed. (Mt. Roskill, Auckland: Catholic Publications Centre, 1994), 168.

[xvii] Finau, “God and Tonga Are My Inheritance – Curse Or Blessing?” in He Spoke the Truth in Love: A Selection of His Writings and Speeches, David Mullins, ed. (Mt. Roskill, Auckland: Catholic Publications Centre, 1994), 71.

[xviii] Edgar G. Javier, “Missionary Anthropology” (Lectures, Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia, Quezon City, 2010), 51.

[xix] See Franco Zocca, “New Caledonia,” in Globalization and the Re-Shaping of Christianity in the Pacific Islands, Manfred Ernst, ed.(Suva, Fiji: The Pacific Theological College, 2006), 293.

[xx] Ernst, “The Re-shaping of Christianity in the Pacific Islands,” 707.

[xxi] Ibid.

                        [xxii] Javier, “New Horizons for Mission: Re-visioning our Mission in Contemporary Times” (Lectures, Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia, Quezon City, 2010), 53 – 58.

[xxiii] Clause 6, Act of the Constitution of Tonga [Cap. 2] where it states: “The Sabbath Day shall be kept holy in Tonga and no person shall practise his trade or profession or conduct any commercial undertaking on the Sabbath Day except according to law; and any agreement made or witnessed on that day shall be null and void and of no legal effect.”

[xxiv] Gaudium et Spes in Vatican Council II, ed. Austin Flannery (Northport: Costello, 1998), 942.

[xxv] Finau, “The Prophetic Role of the Church” in He Spoke the Truth in Love: A Selection of His Writings and Speeches, David Mullins, ed. (Mt. Roskill, Auckland: Catholic Publications Centre, 1994), He spoke in truth in love, 6.

[xxvi] Ibid, 7

[xxvii] John Paul II, Address to the Bishops of Oceania, Sydney, AAS 63 (1 December 1970), no. 23.   


[xxix] Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, no. 117.

[xxx] ‘Oikos is the Creek word which is literally translated in English as ‘house’. However, the word ‘house’ in the English language does not capture the richness of ‘oikos’. Strictly interpreted, ‘oikos’ means an inhabited world or an occupied place. … These are the Christians living together under one roof, belonging to one house and to one God. Upolu Vaai, “A Theological Reflection on God’s Oikos (House) in Relation to the Samoan Context,” The Pacific of Theology 16 (1996): 72.

[xxxi] Kafoa Solomon, “Churches Talking Together in and to Oceania: Ecumenism,” Concilium 5 (2010): 67.

[xxxii] John Paul II, Ecclesia in Oceania, no. 23.

[xxxiii] A. Alangaram, Christ of the Asian Peoples: Towards an Asian Contextual Christology (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 1999), 80.

[xxxiv] Sebastian Karotemprel, Following Christ in Mission: A Foundational Course in Missiology (Pasay City: Paulines, 1996), 214.

[xxxv] Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation (19 May 1991), 2, quoted in John Paul II, Ecclesia in Oceania, no. 23.

[xxxvi] John Paul II, Ecclesia in Oceania, no. 25.

[xxxvii] Alangaram, Christ of the Asian Peoples, 97.


Viliami Kiola

Viliami Kiola



Currently, there are no moderated comments on this article.
Interweavings: Graham's Blog