Asian bishops’ meeting in Thailand is ‘synodality in action,’ says Philippine prelate

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the meeting gives life to the idea of “synodality” that is being espoused by Pope Francis

A Filipino bishop described the ongoing general conference of Asian Catholic Church leaders in Thailand as “synodality in action.”

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the meeting gives life to the idea of “synodality” that is being espoused by Pope Francis.

He said the issue of “synodality” is one of the issues that are being discussed in this year’s general conference of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

“This general conference of FABC at 50 years is indeed synodality in action,” said Bishop Santos in an interview over Manila’s Radio Veritas 846.

He said the Church leaders’ collegiality has been put into practice in the conference.

“We feel as one family, walking together as one for the well-being of the Church, and working hand in hand under the vision and mission of our Holy Father, Pope Francis,” said the bishop.

Pope Francis last year launched the “synodal process” that aims to examine “how responsibility and power are lived in the Church as well as the structures by which they are managed.”

It aims to bring to light and try to convert “prejudices and distorted practices that are not rooted in the Gospel.”

In 2018, the pontiff said that the purpose of the synod is not to produce documents, but “to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.”

Asia’s Catholic bishops this month are holding their general conference to mark FABC’s 50th anniversary.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga (Photo by Mark Saludes)

In his homily on Sunday at the conference, Cardinal William Goh of Singapore reminded his fellow bishops that it is their responsibility to “stand firm” as shepherds of the Church and to fulfill their roles as “discerners, guided wholly by the Holy Spirit.”

The cardinal stressed the importance of prayer as clergy and laity journey together as “witnesses” and “true to their conscience.”

Cardinal Joseph Coutts of Pakistan, citing the situation of Catholics in his country, stressed the importance of listening to each other as minorities during Mass on Saturday.

He reminded the faithful to “give thanks, have hope, and follow the call to holiness from the heart.”

During a reflection session on the same day, Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok emphasized the importance of “evangelizing through both word and deed,” and bringing the Gospel into daily life.

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