ASIA - Asian Churches: it is time to "widen the tent"

Monday, 27 February 2023 synodality   synod of bishops  

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - Catholic communities in Asia are called to "widen the space of their tent", to extend it to the needy, the marginalized, to all those, including non-believers, who need and await Christ Jesus' proclamation of love and salvation. This is the perspective that emerged from the Assembly of Asian delegates for the Synod on Synodality, which ended today, February 27, in Bangkok (see Fides, 24/2/2023).
At the meeting, which brought together delegates representing the 29 countries that make up the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), those present, in the utmost inner freedom, did not hesitate to touch, discuss and deepen delicate and potentially tension-bearing issues, such as the relationship between bishops and priests, the relationship between ecclesial structures and young people, the role of women, attention to the poor. But "all obstacles or difficulties are actually those places where the Spirit moves, manifests itself and gives a grace that we receive", underlined Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and President of the FABC, in the concluding Eucharist, celebrated this morning.
"By observing and calling the problems by name, our space - which is our tent - has been expanded. By listening to and touching the tensions in our communities, the space of the Church is enlarged and embraces everyone", he remarked. The Cardinal noted that the synodal journey is "relatively similar to Jesus' journey in the desert", demanding but necessary because it allows the Church to better bear witness to the Gospel.
That journey is accomplished "through a process of listening, encounter and discernment", he noted, hoping for "a change in approach with respect to the challenges we face". Change - he continued - implies "letting go of what prevents us from being a synodal church", "walking on the path of discipleship to encounter Christ", "always being merciful towards one's neighbour", "letting oneself be pervaded by the transforming grace of the Holy Spirit to serve Him alone".
The Assembly, in a spirit of serene and fruitful discussion, reviewed and discussed the draft of the Continental Document to be presented to the Synodal Assembly at the Vatican. The meeting among the Asian representatives was like "a large orchestra performing a symphony," in a chorus of voices that gave a melodious outcome and did not become "a cacophony," said Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, Archbishop of Luxembourg and General Rapporteur of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, in Bangkok. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/2/2023)