Cardinal Bo: Asian Bishops pursuing path of ‘triple dialogue/harmony’
As the Bishops of Asia draw near the end of their first General Conference, Cardinal Charles Bo expresses his hopes that the Church in Asia might embrace harmony with the poor, other religions, and the surrounding culture.
The Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference (FABC) has been holding its first ever General Conference to mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation. Beginning on 12 October, the Conference will conclude on Sunday, 30 October and the conference will issue a final document.
In an interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Charles Bo, the Archbishop of Yangon and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), responds to Pope Francis’s question in his video message at the opening of the FABC, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to the Churches in Asia.”
Asia - blessed continent
“Definitely, during these two and a half weeks here, we feel that the Holy Spirit is really leading us and guiding us. We are very much strengthened by the grace of the Holy Spirit and especially the collegiality, the fraternity that is found here,” the Cardinal began.
Asia, the Cardinal continued, is a “blessed continent, the cradle of all religions”. We have received a blessing from the “soil of Asia”, he declared, from the variety of cultures. “We are very happy that we are all united here together,” he said.
“At the same time”, the Cardinal acknowledged, “Asia has a lot of challenges, of militarization…nuclearization and everything. Asia is producing the biggest amount of poor people here.”
Peace building is new evangelization
“Asia is a blessed nation, but it’s also very challenging, especially for building peace. So, I foresee the vision that the Holy Spirit is leading Asia to build peace. Building peace, and dialogue or reconciliation is a new word for the new evangelization. This is mostly needed.”
“The step toward which the Holy Spirit is leading the whole of Asia is challenging and is dangerous,” he explained, as he named several countries in the area “where there is so much violence and steps toward militarization. So much is happening. Diversity is there but there is also some division.”
“So, the Holy Spirit is leading us toward peace and reconciliation,” Cardinal Bo continued. “We are not forgetting the past. The founding fathers of this FABC have already marked the road, have given us the road of triple dialogue – triple dialogue or triple harmony – harmony with the poor, harmony with religions and harmony with culture. With that harmony, we now need to add harmony with ecology, harmony with nature. With those four dialogues, the Church in Asia will build peace in this part of Asia.”
Task for all Asians
“So, the Holy Spirit is leading us, all the Asian people, not only the Bishops, but also the whole Church, all the baptized, along the road to build peace in their country. It’s very challenging since after 2,000 years we are just still 2%. Though we are a minority, we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”
Sr Bernadette Mary Reis