UCA News

Timor Leste

Timorese Catholics pray for end to leadership crisis

Nine-day devotion to the Divine Mercy aims to break impasse over naming rest of Timor-Leste's cabinet

Thomas Ora, Dili

Thomas Ora, Dili

Updated: July 19, 2018 04:58 AM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Timorese Catholics pray for end to leadership crisis

Timor-Leste President Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo (front left) and Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak (front right) at the cabinet swearing in ceremony in Dili on June 22. (Photo by Thomas Ora)

Share this article :
Timor-Leste Catholics are doing whatever they can to prevent another political crisis, including a nine-day devotion to the Divine Mercy that ends July 19 in Dili.

The Novena, being held at St. Michael's chapel in St. Anthony's parish, aims to ask for peace and for a stable new government under the leadership of Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak, 62.

Ruak, who served as president from 2012-2017, took office on June 22, after the Alliance of Change and Progress won an election on June 12. The election was the second in less than a year in the impoverished Catholic majority country and was called after the previous minority government failed to pass any legislation.

Father Evaristo Fernandes da Costa Soares, who was appointed by Bishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili to lead the Divine Mercy devotion, said the new government is still on shaky ground since several cabinet posts have yet to be filled.

"So, we are encouraging Catholics to pray to the Divine Mercy to end this impasse," the priest said.

People should not underestimate the power of prayer if they want the country to get out of a gloomy situation, Father Soares said.

"It's also to bring people closer to God and feel His presence through difficult times," he added.

Mery Gajeng Chang, 51, one of the devotees, said the emphasis of the Divine Mercy devotion is to ask for personal fidelity and humility.

"We hope our politicians have that trait of humility, so they can work together to solve political issues," she said.

According to Bishop Basilio do Nascimento of Baucau, political uncertainty can lead to distrust and drive away investment from Timor-Leste.

"If the president, the prime minister, or judiciary act too independently it will create another problem," said Bishop Nascimento, also the chairman of Timor-Leste Bishops Conference told the Timor-Post newspaper, July 14.

On July 22, the prime minister is scheduled to present his program, and budget proposal, to parliament, despite his cabinet not being complete.

Last month, President Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo only swore in the premier and 10 ministers. However 11 were knocked back by the president because of graft investigations and have yet to be confirmed.

"I ask public officials to continue dialogue and find better solutions for the country, instead of looking after their own interests," Bishop Nascimiento said.

He urged Lu-Olo and Ruak to work together more closely in the country's interests.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM


Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."