Asian Laity Congress forgets Asian Church

posted 31 Aug 2010, 07:06 by Stefan Gigacz
Tomorrow, Sept. 1, the Korean Catholic church holds a big event, the "Congress of Catholic Laity in Asia." Some 200 clergy, religious and laity from various countries in Asia will take part in the week-long event, along with some 200 local Catholics. As a layperson in the local church, I am delighted and welcome the congress with my whole heart.

It will be a good opportunity for lay people in Asia to discuss realities in the continent and help the church of Asia discern "the sign of the times."

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What has disturbed me, however, is the fact that neither the Korean church nor the Vatican consulted with the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, the FABC, the representative body of the national bishops' conferences in Asia with regard to the congress. I asked Virginia Saldanha, who recently retired from the post of secretary general of FABC Office of Laity, what she knew about the congress. She told me in an e-mail that neither she nor her successor have received any news on the event from either the Vatican or the Korean church, except that Archbishop Rolando Tirona, president of FABC Office of Laity, received an invitation in 2009.

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I could not help but raise the question: Has the Vatican or its Council for the Laity forgotten one of the major teachings of the Second Vatican Council, "collegiality of bishops and laity"? I cannot help but say that the Vatican has made a critical mistake by ignoring such collegiality of the bishops and the faithful.

- Paul Hwang, Center for Asian Theology Solidarity

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