According to the Malaysian priest, the Church in Asia plays a pivotal role in building bridges for peace.
“The diversity of religions in Asia makes engaging in various forms of dialogue compelling to build peace, reconciliation, and harmony,” said Father Clarence Davedassan of Malaysia in his testimony during the presentation of the Fourth General Congregation of the Synod on Monday.
“We share many experiences of fruitful engagement with other Christians, persons of other religions and traditions, including indigenous spiritualities, and with society as a whole,” he said.
Answering the question “How can we be more fully a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity?" Father Davedassan said that the Church in Asia continues to uphold peacebuilding and reconciliation despite being a minority on the culturally diverse continent.
“While some may consider the church only a drop in the vast ocean, her ripples are far-reaching. Synodality for Asia is more than the Church existing for herself, but for the sake of all,” the priest said.
“In a pluralistic Asian society, the church seeks to continue spreading the gospel message despite the challenges. How can we be more fully a sign and instrument of union with God and the unity of all humanity?” he added.
Father Davedassan also revealed how their bridge-building efforts are faced with numerous challenges, such as increasing religious and social intolerance that leads to persecution and threats to human life.
“Amid opportunities and challenges, these persecuted churches remain faithful to God in new and creative ways,” said the priest.
Moreover, the priest also underlined the essential role of Basic Ecclesial Communities in realizing Asia’s unique mission to demonstrate communion between Christians and non-Christians.
“They bring about not only spiritual transformation but also social transformation. They have been the beacons of hope for gospel witnessing in society,” he explained.
Out of the four billion people living in Asia, only 3% are Catholics. Timor-Leste and the Philippines are the only two Asian countries that are dominantly Catholic.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.