Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Suffering in Asia

Life as an immigrant is difficult. Leaving one's home  brings hardships. Coming from a country with a low wage scale, and living in one with a high wage scale  needs preparation-- they are often looked down upon and feel ostracized, and the disadvantages and hardships are not just a few. Two articles in the Peace Weekly addresses the situation of migrants  in Asia. One article treats the FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences) recent conference in Thailand on the issues.

In Korea as in other countries the Church does work pastorally with the immigrants. In Korea they are now addressed as guest workers which is an attempt to be more welcoming. One article says that it reflects on the citizens when our attitudes and behavior are not considerate of their difficulties.

Pope John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation Ecclesia In Asia says: "At the present time Asia is   experiencing an unprecedented flow of refugees, asylum  seekers, immigrants and overseas workers. In the  countries to which they come, these people often find themselves friendless, culturally estranged, linguistically disadvantaged and economically vulnerable. They need support and care in order preserve their human dignity and their cultural and religious heritage." This was written 16 years ago and in Korea the situation has got worse.

In Korea with the large number of migrants, we also have the need for helping them to integrate. This is a concern for both the Korean Church and FABC. 

There is the need for the  pastoral care of the immigrants. In Japan we have many Filipino women who have  come to Japan to work in the country areas and most of them would be Catholic, which is a concern because of the small number of Catholics in Japan. One Japanese bishops considers them a gift to the Japanese Church. 

Secondly there is a need to protect the dignity of the migrants. The treatment of illegal immigrants is a problem. Trafficking is fought against but the efforts are few, illegal immigrants are the victims of trafficking, men are  used as slaves on vessels at sea,  women are sold into prostitution,  and  children become the victims in pedophilia, and there are those from whom bodily organs are extracted. 

No one can remain indifferent to the suffering of the countless children in Asia who fall victim to intolerable exploitation and violence,not just as the result of the evil perpetrated by individuals but often as a direct consequence of corrupt social structures. The synod fathers identified child labor, pedophilia and the drug culture as the social evils which affect children most directly, and they saw clearly that these ills are compounded by others like poverty and ill conceived programs of  national development. The Church must do all she can do overcome such evils, to act on behalf of those most exploited, and to seek to guide the little ones to the love of Jesus" (Pope John Paul II).

The article on the FACB ends with  the need for prayer and to get involved in the problems the continent faces. The Church needs to hear the cry of those who are suffering in Asia.    

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