A culture of life: a mission for both Church and family in Asia

Bishops deplore the absence of delegates from China and join in spirit Chinese and North Korean Catholics.

Seoul (AsiaNews/UCAN) – "Let us celebrate the signs of hope that abound in Asian families, but let us also share their anxieties." So ends the message Asia's Catholic bishops sent to the "people of God and to people of good" thus ending on Monday the 8th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) that took place in Daejeon (South Korea).

In the document the bishops stressed first of all the strength of Asian family values like "reverence for life, hospitality, respect for the elders, and caring for the young".

As intermarriage becomes commonplace in a continent where Christians are in the minority these values remain important and fundamental for mixed couples. According to the bishops such couples are "symbols of unconditional love" breaking down cultural and religious barriers. They

are none the less increasingly aware of the difficulties families must confront in a continent progressively more globalised.

"The emerging global neo-liberal culture that propels individualism, selfishness, and greed poses a threat the family" because it is "inspired by materialism and secularism". Forced family planning, abortion, genetic manipulation of human life, pornography and drug addiction are but a few examples of neo-liberal thinking.

For the bishops of Asia only a culture of life "inspired by the values of the Kingdom of God preached by Jesus" can promote family well-being. A culture of life means protecting "God's gift of human life in all its dimensions from conception to death" and promoting the "primacy of human dignity above economic efficiency".

The bishops conclude their message urging governments, educational institutions, mass media and non Christians to "join them in order to support the family as the central pillar of a love-based civilisation and culture of life".

The bishops sadly deplore the absence of delegates from Mainland China and express their concern and affection for Catholic families in both China and North Korea. "We are one with our brothers and sisters in China as they meet the challenge of transforming the Church into one family of God." (LF)