Special Report: The Church in Asia

global perspective
The Church in Asia Gathers
The Importance of Family in the Culture of Life
Coverage of the 8th plenary assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, Aug. 17-22, 2004

About 250 Asian church leaders -- lay, clergy and religious -- are to meet in South Korea this August to discuss issues around the official theme: "The Family Towards a Culture of Life," and NCRonline.org will provide daily coverage. The meeting is the 8th plenary assembly for the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences. Check the NCR Web site for daily updates.

Day Three
The food is the best thing about meetings held in Korea. The varity and freshness is astonding. Much of the work of the lay gathering centered on drawing up a 5,000-word paper they will share with their bishops before they come to Korea in mid-August. Read today's report

Day Two
Most who gathered here agreed that that Asian vision of church is solid but that its implementation has stalled. Some said this simply reflects larger currents in the universal church at the end of a pontificate. Read today's report

Day One
Leaders of Catholic lay organizations throughout East Asia met here for four days last week before issuing a paper urging their bishops to stay faithful to the forward-looking pastoral path they have outlined since the early 1970s. Read today's report

Background Information
Asia's Vision of Church. Malaysian theologian Edmund Chia takes an in-depth look at the theological vision of Asia and what he calls "the coming age of the Asian church." The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) reports news about and of interest to the Church in Asia. Operations began in 1979. Today UCA News offers: A daily news and photo dispatches from editoral offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Manila, New Delhi and Seoul. Catholic lay leaders gathered in June. Leaders of Catholic lay organizations throughout East Asia met here for four days in June before issuing a paper urging their bishops to stay faithful to the forward-looking pastoral path they have outlined since the early 1970s.

Past NCR Coverage of the Asian Church

The Synod of Asian Bishops
    When Asia's bishops meet in Rome for a synod in April and May 1998, NCR provide extensive coverage. Read the on the spot reports from what NCR publisher Thomas Fox called, "an historic momment."

Pentecost in Asia: A New Way of Being Church
    "Thomas C. Fox's Pentecost in Asia is an excellent introduction to the emerging Asian Church. American Christians are more familiar with Latin American than Asia. So I would consider this book essential reading. Fox introduces them to the vision of dialogue which helps Asia to experiment with 'a new way of being Church.' I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to students and pastors." -- Michael Amaladoss, S.J., Director of Institute for Dialogue with Cultures and Religions, Chennai, India

What is the FABC?
    The Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) is a voluntary association of episcopal conferences in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia, established with the approval of the Holy See. Its purpose is to foster among its members solidarity and co-responsibility for the welfare of Church and society in Asia, and to promote and defend whatever is for the greater good.
    The FABC has met in plenary session only seven times. When it meets in eight weeks, bringing together some two hundred bishops, clergy religious and laity, it will take up the subject of the family.
    The Asian bishops have long prized the idea of inculturating their churches, working to build authentic local churches with local theologies. They surprised many when, in the spring of 1998, at a synod on evangelization at the Vatican they unveiled their vision of church to the wider world. They called it, a new way of being church.
    Essentially, the Asian bishops said to Rome that the only way to spread the faith in Asia is to decentralize Catholicism and build models that fit into Asian culture and are compatible with Asian histories.
    Meanwhile, the Asian bishops said that their churches must live in solidarity with the Asian poor because Asia is overwhelmingly poor. The means, they explained, to fighting poverty and other forms of oppression is to work with the other religions of Asia, which face the same plights.
    Visit the FABC Web site.

The Past Assemblies
    Read final statements and reports from Plenary Assemblies of the FABC.

The FABC Papers
    FABC Papers is a project of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), designed to bring the thinking of Asian experts to a wider audience and to develop critical analysis of the problems facing the Church in Asia from people on the scene.
    The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) alone and do not necessarily represent the official policies of the FABC or its member Episcopal Conferences.
    Visit the FABC Papers index.

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