by Clyde Ericson Nolasco
Five months after the General Conference held at Thailand, FABC launches the Bangkok Document.
In an online event held on March 15, Auxiliary Bishop Allwyn D’Silva (Bombay, India), Cardinal Oswald Gracias (Bombay, India), Cardinal Charles Bo (Yangon, Myanmar), Bishop Pablo David (Caloocan, Philippines) and Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi (Tokyo, Japan) led the launching of the fruit of the FABC 50, the final document to which they refer as the Bangkok Document.
The Architect of the Document
Bishop Pablo David, the “Architect of the Document” according to Cardinal Gracias, gave an overview of the process that took place to achieve the final document and of the sections in the document.
In his presentation, Bishop David highlighted the main inspiration which was the Matthean narration of the journey of the Magi, specifically the text, “...and they went on a different way” (Matthew 212).
The five-part document inspired by the five aspects of the story of the Magi searching for the Messiah comprises discussion on the position of Asia in the ongoing Synod on Synodality, the emerging realities in the region, the challenges, Asia’s contribution to the Universal Church and the new and possible directions the churches in Asia can take.
To mention, the nine impactful realities in Asian societies are regarding the (1) migrants, refugees and indigenous people; (2) families; (3) gender issues); (4) role of women; (5) youth; (6) digital technology; (7) economy; (8) climate crises; and (9) interreligious dialogue.
The document concludes with “To be all things to Asian people,” a reflection on being a missionary based on St. Paul’s 1 Corinthians 9:22-23. The text ends with the lyrics of the theme song of the FABC 50, the Song of Asia.
From the Convenor
Cardinal Gracias, the Vice President and convenor of FABC 50 General Conference, expresses his sincerest thanksgiving to everyone who helped in finalizing the document as the launching ends. He mentions that the Bangkok Document “is not a finished product but a beginning of a journey” encouraging all to take part in the fulfillment of the visions of the FABC 50’s Bangkok Document.
Also, he stresses that this document can be a tool to fulfill our mission as a “Church in Asia for a better Asia, a Church in Asia for a better people, a Church in Asia that works in Asia for a better world.”
As one Church, we thank all the archbishops, bishops, priests, religious and lay leaders who took part in the FABC 50 General Conference. The Bangkok Document will be a guide to the churches in Asia in the next few years.