By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) released the Final Document of the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality on 16 March.
The document is the fruit of a synthesis of the responses of the 17 Episcopal Conferences and two Synods of Oriental Churches, as well as the input of Episcopal Conference presidents and delegates in the Continental Assembly that took place in Bangkok from 24-26 February.
Asia responds to the Continental Document
Home to 4.6 billion people and the majority of the world’s billionaires, Asia also hosts a sizeable Catholic population estimated to be around 150 million people, or 3.31% of the total population.
Although a minority, the Final Document states at the outset that the Catholic Church “contributes greatly to the fields of education, healthcare, social welfare and reaching out to the poor and marginalised groups in society.”
The synodal process in Asia coincided “providentially” with the FABC 50 General Conference held in October 2022. Some of the countries were able to “involve many people from different walks of life while others were only able to gather smaller groups of people,” the document notes.
One limitation contributing to this was “the inability to translate the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) into the many vernacular languages” spoken in Asia.