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 News Archive 2005


FABC Central Committee Meets

The Central Committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) will meet on November 18 and 19 in Hua Hin, Thailand. The committee is the highest decision body of the Federation, second to the Plenary Assembly, and composed of the presidents of FABC-member bishops' conferences. This year's meeting will elect a new secretary general following the term of Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo. The Federation is directed by the secretary general; there is no president in the FABC set up.

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Communication in Religions of Asia


"Social Communications in Religious Traditions of Asia" was the theme of a Roundtable organized by the FABC Office of Social Communication in cooperation with the Graduate School of Philosophy and Religion of Assumption University and the Asian Research Center for Religion and Social Communication of Saint John's University in Bangkok.


The meeting took place October 3-7 at Assumption University Huamark campus and was locally organized by the faculty there. Some 20 scholars and specialists from different religions presented their findings on the role of social communication in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Confucianism.


Social Communication was stated as being at the beginning of all religions, and also decisive for the spreading of religious meanings and practices. In some religions like Hinduism, a certain "incommunicability" exists as the inner core of religious communications which cannot be fully expressed in verbal ways. This is also true in Christian communication with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the communicator.

Religious communication, the participants agreed, is very much related to oral traditions, the use of symbols and traditional means of communication. Languages are also an important vehicle.

Communication in religions also calls for a certain equality between communicator and recipient. Religious communication is not only top-bottom, and merely concerned about dissemination of information. Rather, they are supposed to foster participation and sharing.

Such communication is based on a deep spirituality growing from silence as a special source of inspiration and experiencing the holy. Religious communication has also a liberative function in the lives and experiences of people.

Communication in religion does not rely on technical means alone but is determined by reflection and action, the participants said. The participants acknowledged, however, also the growing challenge of multimedia and the Internet of modern times.

see the final statement (OSC-Roundtables)

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Interreligious Dialogue as Communication


"Interreligious Dialogue as Communication" is the title of a new publication of the Office of Social Communication of the FABC. The book reports the presentations and reflections of last year's fifth "Bishops' Institute for Social Communication" (BISCOM V) on the same theme. Some 30 Archbishops and Bishops gathered for this occasion in Bali, Indonesia together with an additional 40 priests, religious and lay people concerned about interreligious dialogue. The 192-page book contains all the presentations and the final statement. It is published as volume six of the FABC-OSC book series by Logos (Divine Word) Publications, Manila. Order from Logos (Divine Word) Publications, Inc. at 1916 Oroquieta St. Sta. Cruz, Manila email:

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First FABC Women's Meeting for East Asia

The first FABC Meeting on Women in East Asia was held at Bishop Lei International House, Hong Kong August 15-19, 2005. There were 38 participants from all East Asian countries including two nuns from Mainland China, a layman, a Japanese priest and two bishops - one each from Japan and Hong Kong.

The participants learned the different outreach programs for women in Hong Kong diocese. Listening to stories helped them realize the pain and struggle of many women, especially poor women, in society today.

The participants also saw the relation between culture and women's oppression. Through inputs, they saw how globalization impacts women in the family and society. And through prayer sessions and Gospel reflections the participants received with joy the good news of Jesus for women. They felt that women need to play a larger role in bringing to fore the "feminine qualities" of the Church.

In the end, the participants drew measures to help East Asian women play their rightful role in the mission of the Church: first, in strengthening families; and second, working in partnership with men for spreading God's reign of justice, love and peace in the region.


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Asian Youth at World Youth Day, Cologne

(The following are excerpts from an UCANews reported by Gerald O'Connell)

More than 8,000 young people from 21 Asian lands celebrated the 20th World Youth Day (WYD) with Pope Benedict XVI in Germany.

Their number compared proportionately well with those from other continents, even if Asians accounted for less than 1 percent of the 1 million youth people who joined Pope Benedict for the Aug. 16-21 celebration in Cologne, Germany.

The Asian presence was much in evidence throughout the week, particularly at the candlelit vigil on Aug. 20, and during the next day's solemn papal Mass, concelebrated by 9,000 priests and 800 bishops, including 60 cardinals.

At the deeply moving vigil at Marienfeld ("Mary's Field"), 25 miles outside Cologne, five women and one man from India danced gracefully at the prayer service. During the Mass, a young man from India gave a distinctly Asian flavor to the singing of the Creed by playing the sitar, while people other Asian countries carried the offertory gifts.

Taiwan's Rosa Lee Yunju, 21, was one of a dozen youths who had lunch with the pope on Aug. 19. Lee was just one of more than 1,000 Chinese attending WYD this year. About 200 came from mainland China (both the "open" and "underground" Church). More than 200 others were from Hong Kong, 30 from Macau and about 550 from Taiwan.

However, Asia's largest contingent came from the Philippines. The 2,874 Filipino participants included bishops, priests, and Religious men and women, as well as many others who live in Germany or elsewhere in Europe.

More than 1,200 Koreans also took part in the Cologne gathering, including a small number from North Korea. Together with Jesuit Brother Youh Shin-jae, who is engaged in campus ministry, 40 came from Jesuit-run Sogang University in Seoul.

No less than 800 young people came to Cologne from India, together with some bishops, priests, and Religious men and women.

Among the 100 or so young Indonesians, 50 came from Jakarta, the others from Aceh province or from Bandung, Bogor and Surabaya on Java Island. Two priests and a bishop accompanied them.

Young people also came from Afghanistan (about 200), Armenia, Bangladesh (100), Bhutan, Cambodia, Japan (500), Kazakhstan (270), Laos, Malaysia (150), Mongolia, Myanmar (150), Nepal, Pakistan (340), Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand (50), Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. During the week, many participated in the "Asian festival," dressed in their national costumes, singing songs and performing dances from their homelands, and praying together. The festival provided a microcosmic picture of the reality of the youthful Catholic Church in Asia.

Among several bishops who spoke during the catechetical sessions in Cologne, Bonn and Dusseldorf were Cardinal Ivan Dias of Bombay, India, and prelates from Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. For the first time at a WYD, two catechetical sessions were conducted in Chinese -- Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong spoke to young people in Cantonese, and Bishop Bosco Lin Chi-nan of Tainan, Taiwan, talked in Mandarin.

A follow up to Cologne will be the Asian Youth Day which is planned on August 2006 at Hong Kong / Macau.

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Asian Mission Congress 2006 to be pastoral - catechetical

An Asian Mission Congress will take place in Thailand from October 18-23, 2006. The Theme is: "The Story of Jesus Christ in Asia: A Celebration of Faith and Life". The congress was proposed by the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda) and is organized by the FABC Office of Evangelization. In a preparatory meeting, June 26-27, 2005, the objectives of the congress were spelled out in a more detail as: (1) sharing the joy enthusiam of our faith, (2) celebrating Asian ways of mission, (3) raising awareness for "Mission Ad Gentes" and (4) showing priorities for renewed mission animation. The congress will be pastoral-catechetical in nature. The organizers expect some 1,000 participants from all over Asia, but the majority of them from Thailand. The venue for the congress will probably be "Baan Phu Wan", the pastoral center of the archdiocese, some 40 kilometers from Bangkok city center.

see FABC Office of Evangelization for details
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FABC mourns Jaime Cardinal Sin

Jaime Cardinal Sin, retired archbishop of Manila, Philippines, died on June 21, 2005. He was 76.

Cardinal Sin was especially related to the "Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences" (FABC) through his chairmanship of PREIC (Philippine Radio, Education and Information Center), the legal body for the FABC-owned Radio Veritas Asia (RVA).

Radio Veritas Asia is the continental Catholic short-wave radio station for Asia. It broadcasts in 16 different languages to some 20 different Asian countries, with PREIC as the legal basis for operating in the Philippines. The FABC has full responsibility for the operations and financing of the radio station.

After his transfer to Manila, then Archbishop Sin promoted the rehabilitation of RVA after a temporary breakdown in 1973/74. Because of his involvement in the affairs of the station, Cardinal Sin became a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication in the Vatican right from the beginning of his ministry in Manila.

Cardinal Sin together with the Filipino bishops hosted the 6th FABC General Assembly in Manila in 1995 and the 25th anniversary of Radio Veritas Asia with Pope John Paul II as guest of honor. "It is the truth of Jesus Christ that we tirelessly proclaim here at Radio Veritas Asia, the voice of truth in the Asian region," the Cardinal told the Pope at that occasion.

Cardinal Sin visited the station many times sharing his wisdom, moral support as well as his humor. He will be truly missed. May he rest in peace.

Condolences: FABC  CCA

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Timor Leste joins FABC

The bishops of East Timor have recently decided and applied to become members of the 'Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC)'. Since there are up to now only two dioceses in the young church the bishops will apply only as associate members of the federation. Full membership as a conference will be given as soon as a third diocese is created and thus a bishops' conference of East Timor can be established.

With Timor Leste the youngest and newest country of Asia will become part of the FABC family. The official acceptance will be confirmed at the next central committee meeting of the Federation before the end of 2005. The central committee consists of the presidents of the FABC-member bishops' conferences.

Timor Leste was created as an independent country on May 20, 2002. With over 90% of the total 800,000 population being Catholic, it is before the Philippines with some 85%, the most Catholic country in the Asian continent. Both are considered the only predominantly Christian countries in Asia.

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Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam's follow-up of the 8th FABC Plenary

The Final Document of FABC 8th General Assembly on -'The Asian Family towards Culture of Integral Life' has been translated into Vietnamese. It has been distributed to the 25 dioceses of the country. Meetings are organized for all local churches and parishes to study this document. Another sixteen-page booklet on 'Sympathy and Solidarity with Persons Having HIV/AIDS' has been completed. The purpose of this document is to help HIV patients and their families to take precautions against the prevailing disease. 10,000 copies were distributed to 2,500 parishes and religious organization. The country is facing this serious disease with already now some 245,000 HIV-AIDS infected persons. Because of lack of knowledge many people discriminate against HIV patients. The document shall provide a better understanding how to treat HIV patients. The Church is propagating healthy lifestyles to form good Christians, especially young people. The Church has also started a research on Vietnamese Families to get exact num bers to deepen the study of those problems which were presented at the FABC Plenary Assembly in Korea last August 2004.

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TSUNAMI: A Challenge to Christian Communicators

An international conference on the communication consequences of the Tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004 was organized in Bangkok from March 18 to 22. In cooperation with Caritas-Asia, Signis-Asia and the communications office of the Thai bishops' conference, the meeting was conceptualized by the FABC Office of Social Communication (Manila). The considerations went from a more descriptive presentation of the happenings to the presentation of the social communication experiences. From here, the 42 participants coming from all parts of Asia formulated their proposals and ideas in a final message from the meeting.

view message under Office of Social Communication documents

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Asian Mission Congress 2006

An Asian Mission Congress will be held from October 16-20, 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event organized by the Office of Evangelization in cooperation with the Holy See's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. In preparation for the congress, OE has called for a planning meeting of chairmen of mission and evangelization commissions of FABC-member conferences, national directors of Pontifical Mission Societies as well as executive secretaries of FABC offices in Samphran, Thailand in June 2005. The proposed theme of the congress is "The Story of Jesus in Asia: A Celebration of Faith and Life."

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Pope John Paul II and Public Relations

A course on “Church and Public Relations: the Case of John Paul II” is offered in the new school year 2005/06 at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila. The course is offered at the Graduate School within an MA Theology program on Social/Pastoral Communication, initiated by the FABC Office of Social Communication. Other subjects within the program include an extensive two-semester course on Pastoral and Evangelizing Communication, as well as Church and New Media, Religious Broadcasting, Religious Journalism, Church Documents on Social Communication, and others. The PR course will study extensively how Pope John Paul II, not only through his words, but also his personality was an outstanding PR example.



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FABC Offices Meet

A joint planning meeting of all FABC offices took place in Bangkok from February 28- March 4, 2005. The chairmen-bishops and executive secretaries of the nine FABC officers presented their recent activities, experiences and plans for the future. A greater cooperation and mutual support as well as joint ventures were discussed. The renaming of the Office of Laity into "Office of Laity and Family" was confirmed. This FABC office works with three subdivisions: Youth Desk, AsIPA Desk, and Women Desk. Family was the theme of the 8th Plenary Assembly of the FABC August last year in Daejeon, Korea. The General Secretary, Archbishop Oswald Gomis, chaired the Bangkok meeting.

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Rooting Faith in Asia



rooting faith in asia

A resource book for inculturation was published, after five years of preparation, by the FABC Office of Evangelization under the title "Rooting Faith in Asia." In the first part, the 435-page publication presents experiences of inculturation from all FABC countries. This chapter is followed by a discussion of key issues of inculturation like cultural values, spirituality, Interreligious dialogue, liturgy and worship. The theological foundations of inculturation are addressed in a third part, whereas the concluding fourth part entitled "Continuing Inculturation Today" gives further considerations on areas like human development, ecology, cultural crisis, spirituality and social communication.

Some 60 contributors from Asia share information and considerations, each one covering in a few pages overviews and directions to reflect, start and deepen the process of inculturation. The main editors of the book are the executive secretary of the FABC Office of Evangelization, Fr. Saturnino Dias, and Fr. John Prior, svd. The editorial team is completed with James H. Kroeger mm, Julian Saldanha sj and C. Joy E. Pereira (Colombo). The resource book is a joint publication of Claretian Publishers in Bangalore and Manila from where it can be ordered. The original print comes from India.


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World Youth Day - Cologne: Asian Youth Gathering

FABC-Office of the Laity-Youth Desk invites all Asian delegates to the Asian Youth Gathering. This is an event within the World Youth Day where Asian delegates and friends gather for an afternoon of celebration and prayer. It is an opportunity to build friendships and to grow in solidarity with one another as a region. Moreover, it aims to deepen the theme of World Youth Day in the context of Asian realities affecting the young. The gathering aptly entitled:


Let's Praise and Worship!

will be held on August 17, Tuesday from 14:00 - 17:30 at the Hardtberghalle, Graustrasse 1 53125 Bonn.

For details, e-mail FABC Youth Desk at


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The Summit of Asian Religious Youth Leaders

Last July 4-6, 2005, the Youth Desk attended the very first SUMMIT OF ASIAN RELIGIOUS YOUTH LEADERS in Ambon, Indonesia. Organized by the World Conference on Religions for Peace and in cooperation with El.Ai.Em Ambon and Interfidei Institute from Jogjakarta, the program was participated in by 68 leaders from 14 countries. The theme of the gathering was Religious Youth For Peace: Confronting Violence and Advancing Shared more

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