Thursday, August 19, 2010
Calling the Catholic Laity to see beyond their own Country
There will be panel discussions on the following topics: "Imitation and Christian instruction of the laity; participation of the laity in the life of the parish and small communitites; the witness given by lay people in various sectors of society (work, education, media, politics; the engagement of the laity in the inculturation of the Gospel and in the dialogue between faith and culture; experiences of the laity in ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue; witnesses of Christian charity and service to the poor; questions regarding religious freedom in the lives of Christians; the laity as builder of peace and justice."
A Catholic Times' editorial pointed out the important question the Congress must face and answer: Are we, as Asians, prepared to be troubled enough with our situation to deal with it effectively. Not only should we be concious of the mission we have been given from the time of the apostles but we should be prepared to help solve the problems we are faced with.
Over 60 percent of the world's population lives in Asia; the number of Catholics about 3 percent (1/6th of the African total). Half the population lives in poverty and must deal with all kinds of social problems: paternalism, discrimination between the sexes, low birthrates, aging of the population, imigration, and the problems that come by living in a foreign culture.
The editorial goes on to tell us there are some bright spots on the Asian landscape. While in the West the numbers of Christians are decreasing and faith life is weakening, the opposite is happening in Asia. Here, the numbers of Christians and vocations are increasing. Although there are still many conflicts, the sensitivity we have for the spiritual makes Asia a field of great potential.
We need to take advantage of this potential by extending our vision beyond our own country and drawing up concrete proposals. Laity should be prepared to reconsider their calling and see themselves as major contributors to Asia's future.