Threefold appeal and five principles
Myanmar, 28 December 2018 -- Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, SDB - new President of the FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences), appealed to bishops and the international community on 28 December 2018, to help victims of the recent Indonesian tsunami. The 22 December tsunami was the result of a volcanic eruption at the infamous Krakatoa Volcano in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, leaving at least 430 people dead, 1500 injured and 22,000 displaced, in villages along the Java and Sumatra coasts.
“This huge tragedy makes me recall the pain and suffering when Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar in 2008 and left some 140,000 victims and 800,000 displaced. On the eve of the new year, my thoughts go out to the populations of Indonesia, affected by recent violent natural disasters, which have caused serious losses in human lives, numerous people missing and homeless, and extensive material damage. We mourn the numerous deaths and untold suffering the tsunami has left behind at the dawn of the new year 2019.”
Cardinal Charles Bo appealed for a three-fold action: (1) to be close in prayer to the victims and their families; (2) to promote extensive ‘solidarity and the support of the International Community’ for our brothers and sisters in Indonesia; (3) to look for tangible ways of alleviatinge the suffering of the victims; “I know that Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Indonesia, and other local partners have teams on the ground responding and they will be providing relief and assistance”.
A few days earlier, Cardinal Charles Bo released his Christmas message containing five principles - mandates or "milestones to reach in our socio-pastoral adventure in Asia":
- Mandate of St John Paul II in the Exhortation ‘Ecclesia in Asia’ (1999) that ‘just as in the first millennium the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the Third Christian Millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent”.
- Focus - mandate to “respond to Pope Francis call for Economic and Environmental justice of which people in Asia are victims.”
- The urgent need of recognizing the presence of indigenous people starting from the shores of the South China Sea to central parts of India, where the market economy has created turbulence by denying their right to resources and traditional way of life.
- The concern to pursue peace through a continuous three-fold dialogue with the poor people, cultures and religions of Asia: “Our work with the poor and their dignity needs to be the turf where we meet other religions.”
- Propose mainstream reconciliation as the new evangelization in Asia where “the Church should not repay hatred with hatred, but be a healer of known and hidden wounds”.
The FABC is a voluntary association of 16 episcopal conferences in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia, was established in 1972 with approval of the Holy See, its purpose is to foster among its members solidarity and co-responsibility for the welfare of the Church and society in Asia, and to promote and defend whatever is for the greater good. Cardinal Bo will take over officially as head of the FABC on January 1, 2019, a day after Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai retires after two consecutive terms. (www.fabc.org)