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Bishops in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei admit struggles in synodal process

Catholic bishops in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei have admitted that they too faced challenges in their work as they continue in efforts to dialogue with people in the Church’s synodal process.

“We have been asking the people and the priests of their ideas and struggles,” said Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

He said, however, that their own sharing as bishops has also been “powerful,” adding that through the synodal process “it is good the people understand we have our own struggles, too.”

The prelate made the statement during the conference’s 109th plenary meeting that was attended by 11 bishops from Malaysia, Singapore, and the administrator of Brunei.

The conference focused on the progress of the synodal process in the dioceses.

Among the challenges presented during the meeting was how to proceed with the consultations in the “peripheries” in the midst of the pandemic.

The report presented to the bishops noted that in some places, people fear of being judged, or are indifferent to the synodal process, or find no need to engage.

A need to “rethink the roles and responsibilities” and where to focus the ministry was also raised during the meeting.

The bishops also spoke of the need to look into Church leaderships at every level and how to select and train leaders who can relate with the people.

The bishops agreed on the need for “healing and conversion” in Church culture, attitudes, structures, and pastoral practices.

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