08/16/2004, 00.00
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The family: a pastoral challenge for the Church in Asia

The 8th Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference begins tomorrow in South Korea; its theme: "The Asian Family towards a Culture of Life".

Seoul (AsiaNews/UCAN) – The 8th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference (FABC) begins tomorrow in Daejeon (120 km south of South Korea's capital of Seoul) and will last until August 23. Entitled "The Asian Family towards a Culture of Life", the conference will give bishops the opportunity to discuss the situation of the family in Asia and the pastoral challenges it represents for the Church.

The Assembly's preparatory document lists several problems affecting Asian families such as poverty, migration, exploitation of women and children, and concerns related to globalisation, secularism, and traditional cultures.

An anti-family culture characterised by disrespect for life, sexual debasement, and a rising divorce rate is spreading in the more economically advanced Asian countries.

The Christian vision of the family based on love, communion, and solidarity is the Church's response to these challenges, one that interacts with traditional religions and cultures to resist secularism, but also recognises how oppressive of women the latter can often be.

Of the 189 delegates and invited guests attending the FABC 92 will be bishops, several of whom cardinals. From India: Card. Telesphore Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi and President of the Indian Bishops' Conference, and Card. Varkey Vithayathil, Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly; from Indonesia: Card. Julius Rijadi Darmaatmadja, Archbishop of Jakarta and President of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference; from Vietnam: Card. Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City; from Taiwan: Card. Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, Bishop of Kaohsiung (Taiwan).

Among the participants there will also be 28 priests, 3 religious men, 8 religious women, 29 laymen and 27 laywomen.

Card. Fumio Hamao, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, and Mgr. Robert Sarah, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, will be present as Vatican representatives.

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