Seoul (AsiaNews/UCAN) "Love is the only message we must preach because God is love and only love gives meaning to our lives," so said Mgr. Robert Sarah, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, speaking to the participants of the 8th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) which is under way in Daejeon, South Korea. The conference's main theme is "The Asian Family: towards a culture of life".
In his opening speech Bishop Sarah emphasised the need to correctly understand the notion of acculturation. It is not, he said, "mere religious folklore and cannot simply mean incorporating local Asian languages, musical instruments, and dances into the liturgy." Acculturation to the Gospel, Bishop Sarah said, means having "God enter someone's life and thought process" changing his or her "moral behaviour and culture" since "there always is a difference between their culture and the Gospel."
Bishop Sarah cited the example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta whose mission was motivated by God's love for man rather than any sophisticated methods of acculturation. "She saw in the destitute the one Jesus to love, serve, and help. Her example should make it easier for the Church to evangelise through love in Asia."
Other speakers from different parts of the continent took the floor throughout the day. Jean-Baptiste Cardinal Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, focused on the challenges of globalisation. According to him "globalisation has brought new lifestyles that stress materialism, pragmatism and hedonism compared to Asia's traditional values." But not all of these changes are negative. "Instead of just condemning them," Bishop Pham Minh Man said, "the Church should engage them in a dialogue, one that would select the best of the new and preserve the good of the old."
One of the negative consequences of globalisation is money worship. For Mgr. Andrei Choi Chang-mou, Bishop of Kwangju and President of the Korean Bishops' Conference, Mammon is a real danger. "Too many bad things that happen in families are money-related. Family problems and family squabbles come from serving Mammon more than God. For the Church God must always come first if she wants to help Christian families realise their lives in God and be a beckon to the world and the salt of the earth."