Rorate Caeli

FABC to call for the use of Asian symbols, melodies and values at Mass

FABC Plenary's Closing Mass

From the Union of Catholic Asian News' report on the FABC's plenary's closing document:

Participants approved the scheme for the assembly document presented by Filipino Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Imus, chairman of FABC’s Office of Theological Concerns.

He will be writing the document summarizing the assembly discussions and pastoral recommendations addressing concerns and challenges related to living the Eucharist in the region.

Bishops had reported that in Asia there are “death-dealing” and “life-giving” forces at work that impact the way people live their faith and celebrate the Eucharist.

Among the life-giving forces is the renewed faith found in small Christian communities, increased Bible sharing and interest in interreligious dialogue.

Bishops in the plenary talked about forms of worship and adoration in their areas, and a “hunger” for the Eucharist in places such as Indonesia, Myanmar, Mongolia and Timor Leste.

In Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, and other places, such hunger cannot be satisfied due to a lack of priests, they noted. There the people have not been given enough catechesis and information about their faith and the Eucharist, while in places such as India and Pakistan they suffer from religious fundamentalists who prevent Christians from practicing their faith due to centuries-old misunderstandings.

The bishops also proposed extensive discussion of the Eucharist as a medium of reconciliation, especially amid war and ever-increasing nationalism.

Other bishops want the final document to include discussions of growing problems of materialism, family separation due to forced migration caused by wars and unemployment, loneliness that leads to depression and suicide, and equal treatment of all, especially women and children.

Bishop Tagle said the paper will aim to present these using prayers, rites and symbols used in the Mass.

Voting delegates approved Bishop Tagle’s outline in principle and authorized members of the central and standing committees to approve the final paper that he will submit to FABC Secretary General Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato within a month.

The plenary assembly message distributed to participants at the end of the meeting issued a call to community saying, “We cannot celebrate the Eucharist and at the same time maintain, practice or tolerate discrimination based on religion or race, culture or language, caste or class.”

The message recommended “devout listening to the Word every day at home as a family, especially on the eve of Sundays to prepare for the Eucharist.” Pastors and church workers were reminded to help heal those who experience “the trauma of hopelessness” through the Mass.

The message also called for the use of Asian symbols, melodies and values “to make our celebration create a resonance in the depths of Asia’s heart.”
The theologian whose work has dominated the FABC proceedings, Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Ordinary of the Diocese of Imus in the Philippines, is often spoken of in Asian Catholic circles as a future Cardinal or even as a future prefect of some Curial dicastery. A member of the International Theological Commission from 1997-2003, he is both a professor in some of the Philippines' leading liberal theological schools as well as the host of some religious programs on Philippine TV. With his charismatic personality he has managed to attract much attention in some international gatherings in recent years, most notably in the last two Synods of Bishops. A man to watch...