H.R.P.P. saddened by Archbishop's sermon

The Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) was “saddened” by a Monday sermon given by the Archbishop of the Catholic Church, Alapati Lui Mataeliga, lambasting the caretaker Prime Minister, he confessed. 

“The general feeling since [Monday night] is sadness and that is a fact, and especially [the sermon] targeted [me] the [HRPP] leader; but they are looking at me as to what reaction is and what action I will take,” said the H.R.P.P.'s leader and caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi. 

On Monday, the leader of the second largest church in Samoa left no stone unturned in a fiery sermon – which not only touched on the current crisis triggered by the refusal by the caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa to concede defeat – but also last year’s controversial Land and Titles Court Bills which were passed in December.

Alapati decried the current state of the nation on the eve of the country marking Samoa’s 59 years of independence.

“There is no peace and there is no unison and it appears as if our forefather’s shed blood for no reason,” he said.

“This all comes down to Government leaders fighting for power.”

Alapati also reminded the leader of F.A.S.T. party Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and Tuilaepa of the importance of the Independence day and called for peace in the country. 

“Stop this madness of dictatorship and being conceited and be humble,” he said. 

Tuilaepa said during his program with the TV3 and Radio Polynesia that after the sermon he returned to the H.R.P.P.'s headquarters and saw how his peers were upset about the sermon. 

“Firstly I didn’t know that it was publicly televised, and so after that, I stood up and made some funny comments and got everyone to cool down," he said. 

Tuilaepa questioned the timing of the Archbishop’s sermons targeting him. 

“Now is not the time; these are controversial times," he said. 

Tuilaepa added that these things happen and the sermon which attacked him was felt by other members of the H.R.P.P. 

“I have been thinking about this and as a leader of the H.R.P.P. and encouraged and comforted our party," he said. 

Tuilaepa added that he’s the Chairman for their Catholic parish in Siusega. 

“We all read the Bible and if you can’t live up to the rules outlined in the Bible then it’s useless. There are people that preach the word but do not live by it; and so if you preach forgiveness, patience and yet does not live by it, it is meaningless," he said. 

He said the sermon had encouraged him to continue to be patient and to forgive. 

During the sermon, the Archbishop said that at the height of the Land and Titles Court Bills controversy, he wrote to the now caretaker Prime Minister and asked him to step down.

“Your time is done,” the Archbishop said as the caretaker Prime Minister sat listening to his sermon.

“I wrote to him asking why he doesn’t step down from office, his good works will follow him and I told him that someone should be groomed to take over his place, because you don’t live forever."

“And in response, Tuilaepa said there is no one that can take his place.”

Alapati then addressed the H.R.P.P. members to take heed of what Tuilaepa had said, saying: “[It is] quite shocking that you all know Tuilaepa does not listen to anyone but you all continue down this stupid path anyway!”

 The Archbishop also used the occasion to remind Government leaders that they are public servants and their calling is to serve Samoa.

“Without Samoa, there will be no leaders and the people should be well aware of that, the power in which is being abused by these leaders was given to them by us, the members of the public,” he told the congregation.

He also appealed to the Government leaders to remember that they were voted in by the people and the same people can remove them from power. 

“We are affected by [our leaders] abusing power due to high-minded and dictatorship and what’s happened now [ua pa le no’o],” he said.

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