2009-10-27 14:55:15

For the first time a meeting of Asian bishops takes place in Vietnam

(October 27, 2009) For the first time ever, the Communist government of Vietnam has allowed an international meeting of Asia’s Catholic bishops to take place in the country. The government allowed the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) to hold a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City October 22 to 26 in which some 40 cardinals and bishops from Bangladesh, India, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and, of course, Vietnam took part. The authority’s gesture of openness however, rendered more stark the contradiction with the theme of the seminar, which was "Catholic Schools and Catechetical Centres as venues of Eucharistic Faith Formation in Asia", since for decades the Church in Vietnam has been barred from the field of education, which is monopolized by the state. The objective of the seminar was the sharing of information, ideas, innovations and technology tools in the administration, education strategies and social activities of Catholic schools. Despite active involvements of Vietnamese bishops in FABC’s activities since its first meeting held in the Philippine capital Manila in 1970, the Asian bishops’ body has never been able to hold any meetings in Vietnam.

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