2009-10-24 17:00:54

FABC official proposes North-South bishops' meeting in 2010

(October 24, 2009) A Filipino archbishop has proposed that the Vatican convene a meeting of bishops from developed and developing countries -- the so-called North-South divide -- to develop concrete faith-based responses to issues of reconciliation, justice and peace. Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), made the proposal when he spoke for a second time at the Synod for Africa at the Vatican. "As in Asia, so in Africa many issues of reconciliation, justice and peace have global dimensions," he said and proposed that a Vatican agency "convoke a gathering of bishops from North and South in 2010." The prelate suggested that bishops participating in this proposed meeting could be assisted by experts and Church-aid agencies to "plan and put flesh into a project of communion and solidarity among bishops." The fruit of such joint action would be "charity in truth," he said. The problems facing the developing countries of the South include the arms trade, trafficking of women and children, the destruction of the environment, corruption, dictatorial regimes, population control, migration, poverty, economic globalization, global warming and climate change, he said. His list echoed many of the issues raised by the 200 bishops from Africa's 53 countries attending the three-week synod, which concludes on October 24. These issues have "a global dimension" because "decisions impacting the peoples of the South are made by powers in the North," Archbishop Quevedo told the synod. "Problems with global characteristics require a response with a global dimension." The Catholic Church with its worldwide presence and universal vision is well-positioned to contribute to such a global response but from "a distinctive faith" perspective, he stressed.

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