A Joint Statement by ALL Forum to Religious Leaders in Asiaespecially the FABC on the Myanmar People’s struggle for Democracy
Amidst the critical situation in Myanmar, we Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum stand in solidarity with the pain, torment and struggles of the Myanmar people.
On the 26th of March 2021 ALL Forum jointly organised an interreligious webinar with a Burmese Buddhist monk, a Catholic activist from Myanmar, The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and Lay Mission Institute (LAMIN), in order to understand the critical situation in Myanmar and seek ways to support and build solidarity with Myanmar people.
The Myanmar’s military till date continues to defy calls to end the fundamental human rights violations and “return to the path of democracy”. Until now more than 739 people have been killed since the beginning of the coup in February. The UN’s special envoy on Myanmar has called for strong actions against the junta and has warned of a possible “bloodbath” and the risk of civil war. The cry for a solution to the crisis is heard loud and clear in all its urgency.
In a Buddhist majority country, we understand that it is immensely difficult for us Catholics and Christians of other denominations to voice out our opinions against the Military Junta. But right now, in these tough times we cannot stand back; Our sisters and brothers are brutally suffering from the unjust acts and crimes carried out by the Myanmar military and police.
We need to voice out as Myanmar citizens and not as a religious minority. We should make use of this opportunity to unite interreligiously as one human family by getting rid of the preexisting religious and ethnic discrimination. Our union with the Buddhists, other Christian denominations, Muslims, Hindus and the believers of various ethnic religions strengthens our voice in denouncing the Military Coup and for working towards restoring peace among the Myanmar people.
For this, we as Asian Christians support the Easter message of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, who on witnessing painfully that “young and old, and even the children have been mercilessly killed on dark days,” expresses hope for a resurrection by saying “Let the dreams of democracy buried for the last two months in the graves of oppression be resurrected.”
We appreciate that the president of FABC also recognizes that “The struggle so far has drawn huge support from all men and women of good will,” and encourages the youth to engage in “non-violent struggles” that “a new Myanmar of peace and prosperity rise from the grave of hatred and darkness.”
We strongly believe that a new Myanmar of peace and prosperity could rise from the grave of hatred and darkness only if the Christians participate in the struggle for democracy, being at the front line with all the people of goodwill. FABC could give the lead by exhorting Christians to work together with all Religious Institutions, Civil Society Organizations and Indigenous Peoples for restoring peace in Myanmar.
As Pope Francis reminds us in the document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, that dialogue “would contribute significantly to reducing many economic, social, political and environmental problems that weigh so heavily on a large part of humanity;” we feel with a sense of urgency that it is now or never that we as Asian Christians act on fostering dialogue and develop strong bonds among the many religious and ethnic groups of Myanmar.
Therefore, We, ALL Forum along with the undersigned organization members urge FABC to motivate the Catholic Community and all the diocesan/archdiocesan leaders of Myanmar to be closely involved in the peaceful protests against the Military Coup. We also request FABC to encourage its member bishops’ conferences all over Asia to support and build solidarity with the people of Myanmar in whichever way possible within their means at this critical juncture of their unfolding story of becoming a democratic nation
April 30th, 2021 ALL Forum
Woori Theology Institute (WTI)
Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Katolik Republik Indonesia (PMKRI)
The world is vividly witnessing the killings of Myanmar‘s military at the time of overviewing the “act” part of the papal document in this month newsletter, which is coincidental. No matter how good the “Good Samaritan” was, if he had just left the robbed and injured behind, no one would have had to die lonely on the side of the road. Likewise, no matter how well a Christian is in doing “seejudge” part as CST’s methodology, it would have been nothing more than intellectual play unless he or she tries to save the dying people, particularly Myanmar people at this moment, in the face of indiscriminated shootings by soldiers who are “not riot police but combat troops” witnessed by Myanmar citizens at the street protests.
As in the parable of the good Samaritan, many people seem to think more and more that they have nothing to do with their business or plans even when they see someone falling down or being seriously injured on the streets. They reject strangers who are regarded to threaten their identities and established order, and consider only those who meet the purpose they seek as “neighbors.” We have to go beyond this world of “between ourselves.” Social fraternity, which can transcend boundaries, is not a false universalism that seeks to uniform and level out everyone.
An inadequate understanding of universal love deprives the world of diversity, beauty, and ultimately humanity. For “the future is not monochrome; if we are courageous, we can contemplate it in all the variety and diversity of what each individual person has to offer. How much our human family needs to learn to live together in harmony and peace, without all of us having to be the same!” (no. 100)
It is a great challenge for Christians because it is not really easy to go beyond the culture of “between ourselves”. The Myanmar military has been able to rule for 60 years by separating the Burmese, which account for some 70 percent of the population, and 160 other tribal groups, to fight each other. Typically, Rohingya Muslims were bleeding their blood on the altar by the military as scapegoats. Recently, there was also a media report which said that a white youth went into an Asian massage parlor in Atlanta, Georgia, US and fired a firearm killing 8 people including 6 Asians due to a psychological disease, but he was not spared free from the “hate crimes” caused by hating racial differences or ethnic differences such as “Asian” people.
The reason for the recent “Not In My Backyard” among residents who have banned the construction of a Muslim shrine in Daegu, southern part of S. Korea, seems to be not because of “inconvenience of daily life” but rather regarded as “unwanted facility” such as charnel houses and garbage dumps. It would be clear if the residents were asked whether they would have opposed it so much even if a Catholic or Protestant churches, or Buddhist temple came in. In a world where “hate in us” is real, it is extremely difficult to dream of a culture of welcoming strangers, migrants and refugees.
Complex problems arise when immigrants become our neighbors. It is desirable for each person to enjoy a dignified life where he or she is born so that he or she does not have to migrate, but until such conditions are met, the rights of migrants and their families should be respected. When immigrants come to us, Pope Francis ask us that we should show an attitude of welcome, protect, promote and integrate.
For “it is not a case of implementing welfare programmes from the top down, but rather of undertaking a journey together, through these four actions, in order to build cities and countries that, while preserving their respective cultural and religious identity, are open to differences and know how to promote them in the spirit of human fraternity”. (no. 129) A mid- to longterm international cooperation system is needed. Migrants from different cultures can be mutual gifts. Thanks to the migrants, the society is given an opportunity for abundance and full human development. We should treat immigrants as human beings with equal dignity, not as a threat.
Through meetings with other cultures, we experience greater abundance and maturity. We should communicate with each other, discover each other’s grace, and make a match, and use each other’s differences as an opportunity to mature.The Pope says it is difficult to understand himself and his country clearly and completely without meeting and exchanging with others.
“In fact, a healthy openness never threatens one’s own identity. A living culture, enriched by elements from other places, does not import a mere carbon copy of those new elements, but integrates them in its own unique way. The result is a new synthesis that is ultimately beneficial to all, since the original culture itself ends up being nourished…For “our own cultural identity is strengthened and enriched as a result of dialogue with those unlike ourselves. Nor is our authentic identity reserved by an impoverished isolation”. (no.148)
It is no exaggeration to say that the promotion of diversity depends on how active civil society movements, or popular movements, are at the local, national and international levels. Pope Francis, who has discovered the importance of popular movements, calls it a “social poet.”
“Those movements manage various forms of popular economy and of community production. What is needed is a model of social, political and economic participation ‘that can include popular movements and invigorate local, national and international governing structures with that torrent of moral energy that springs from including the excluded in the building of a common destiny’, while also ensuring that ‘these experiences of solidarity which grow up from below, from the subsoil of the planet – can come together, be more coordinated, keep on meeting one another’. This, however, must happen in a way that will not betray their distinctive way of acting as ‘sowers of change, promoters of a process involving millions of actions, great and small, creatively intertwined like words in a poem’. In that sense, such movements are ‘social poets’ that, in their own way, work, propose, promote and liberate.”(no.169)
Our religious experience and wisdom are the ultimate foundation for respecting human dignity and recognizing each other as true brothers and sisters. In society, there should be a place for reflection from religious traditions, which have accumulated experiences and wisdom over a long period of time, as well as stories of powerful people and experts. The mission of the church is not limited to the private sphere, but also plays a public role in promoting the development of mankind and universal brotherhood. A journey of peace is also possible between religions. Believers should stop their acts of contempt, hatred, xenophobia, or deny others, which are far from God’s love and neighbor’s love. This is why we, Christians, should go out to build peace and become true “people of dialogue” for interreligious dialogue and cooperation.
How Korean Catholic Church Support and Promote Solidaritywith Myanmar People’s Struggles
Organised by Woori Theology Institute and Centre for Asian Peace andSolidarity (CAPS)
On the 17th of March 2021, Woori Theology Institute and Canter for Asian Peace and Solidarity organised an urgent webinar with the theme ‘The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Korean Catholic Church Support and Promote Solidarity’. This webinar was organised to support the Myanmar People and Koreans living there.
This Webinar took place on the Zoom platform and was also streamed live on YouTube. Wayan Tin Maung Win Secretary General of Share Mercy and Dr. Maung John the Director of Lay Mission Institute (LAMIN) were the key speakers in the webinar. Wayan gave the audience insight on the Background of the military coup, the current situation and the demands of the people of Myanmar and Dr. Maung John on the Responses from Different Religious Institutions such as Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus; He elaborated especially on the Catholic, Diocesean, Religious Sisters, Catholic Media and Lay responses to the military coup in Myanmar. Followed by the presentation of the speakers the webinar was opened to the discussion panel to give their critical insights about the situation taking place in Myanmar, drawing close references to similar experiences faced by the Korean people.
Many participants from civil society organisations, religious institutions and church related nongovernment organisation gathered to share their questions and opinions making this webinar an effective one.
The webinar concluded with the intension to raise a monetary fund for the people of Myanmar so that basic necessities such as food and medical aid supplies can be contributed to them.
Webinar The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and HowAsian Religions can Support and Promote SolidarityInterreligiously
Organised by ALL Forum, NCCP, LAMIN
On the 26th of March 2021, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum, NCCP in Philippines, and RTRC in Thailand jointly organized an immediate online webinar to consider how we as followers of religions together can support and have solidarity with the Myanmar people. This webinar was organised on the Zoom platform and was also streamed live on YouTube.
For this webinar we had two actors; one is a well-known Buddhist activist monk Ven. Bhikkhu Mandalar Zan and another Ko Htwe a Lay Activist and Project Manager of Lay Mission Institute from Myanmar to share vivid stories about the current situation there and discuss how peace-loving religions in Asia could unite and support.
Bhikkhu Mandalar expressed the situation in Myanmar and the active of role Buddhist monks in the civil disobedience movement and concluded with the immediate help required for the Myanmar people. Following Bhikkhu’s presentation Ko Htwe elaborated on the responses of Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus Religious Institutions in Myanmar and also the Catholic, Diocesean, Religious Sisters, Catholic Media and Lay responses to the military coup in Myanmar. He concluded with many points on how we can help Myanmar. Subsequently the Discussion panel consisting of Rev. Irma Mepico Assistant Program Coordinator of the Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations (CUER) -NCCP, Philippines; Prof. Francis Lee / Executive director of JusPeace, Korea; Fr. Vinai Boonlue, SJ/ Head of Euro Burma Office Foundation; Shared their critical views and opinions enriching the discussion during the webinar.
Participants from 7 countries namely Pakistan, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines and South Korea joined in this webinar and took back valuable input after experiencing the presentations, Panel discussions as well as the open discussion.
The webinar concluded with a plan to draft an interreligious joint statement addressed to the FABC to motivate the CBCM to join with the other religious institutions of Myanmar and actively participate in the protests against the military coup.
“Church Reform”: From BEC as a Unit for Church Administration to a Neighbour-involved Basic Human Community (BHC)
By John Mansford Prior
The Dream: Basic Ecclesial Communities/Small Christian Communities are a way of releasing faith to inspire the whole of life, no longer a faith enclosed in ritual, but the light that enlightens our daily path. Faith can be lived in its entirety when the joys and the pain of society are the joys and the pain of the BECs/SCCs. If that be the case, then we can describe a neighborhood involved basic community as: An ever-developing community, which is ever on the road growing more faithful. It is not static, and its arrangements and organization are never final.
Nevertheless, while its takes on a whole variety of forms, for Christians the biblical images that underline it remain constant. The BEC/SCC consists of persons who are united in Christ and let themselves be guided by the Spirit in the journey towards the Reign of the Abba. (see, Gaudium et spes, 1)
To achieve this ongoing aim, to take on the joys and the pain of society as our very own, in the famous words of Bishop Francis to “smell like the sheep” (and not just the few perfumed sheep!), at the very least we need to see the needs of our BEC/SCC members, and those of the surrounding society; judge and evaluate how we have reached this point and how come these are our concerns (and not others); act to take up a stance and do something locally and quite possibly more widely through social networking. We can therefore understand the “ideal” BEC/SCC as 1) at the base of the local Church, 2) at the base of society, 3) at the base of our apostolic outreach and activism, and 4) at the base of the empowerment of its members and members of the surrounding society.
The Reality:The BEC/SCC as an Administrative Unit of a Parish
The “dream” outlined briefly above presupposes a prophetic vision, areas of professionalism, and deep personal motivation. The vision comes from the Scriptures which inspires and motivates daily life. The professionalism comes from learning specific skills either through experience or through training programmes. This is often motivated by local, felt-needs – such as the need to accompany children to school or to right a specific injustice. Prayer and Bible sharing/study integrate when there are at least some key members who are active Christians and are willingly and have the time to practise the necessary skills.
The problem is, many BECs/SCCs, so called, have not risen from the grassroots due to felt-needs but have been formed from above as part of parish or diocesan policy. Virtually all Asian Conferences of Bishops, as also the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), have officially prioritised the formation of BECs/SCCs.
Further, most parishes remain structured as a stable (rural) organisation although its members have long lived a much more complex (majority urban) and fluid life. At the top is the priest and “his” Pastoral Council who oversees the geographical area of “his” parish which, for practical reasons, is divided into small units. These small units, although called BECs or SCCs, in practice are administrative units for disseminating parochial news, gathering money, and assist in arranging the liturgy and the sacramental life of the parish.
Some of the elements of the “dream” may well also be present, but fundamentally, we are talking about a sub-unit of the parochial organisation. Not much to inspire, and certainly not the “participatory Church” envisioned by the FABC. In practice, the clerical, static organisational structure of the traditional Catholic parish absorbs the BEC/SCC.
The NGO as our Social Network of Choice The contrast here is with our involvement in social activism. Here the prophetic vision and personal motivation (always) come first; we are not informed that we are a member of a group, we make that personal choice ourselves. Thus, we have the motivation to learn the necessary skills and willingly join – or form – a network to carry the vision forward. And we are totally engaged. The contrast with the traditional top-down parish could not be more stark. However, as committed Christians we are also active to some extent in our parish community, at least liturgically at weekends, and quite possibly more so. The question arises: How should our experience of social activism in inter-faith networks interact with our local parochial BEC/SCC? More fundamentally, should we attempt (should we bother) to bring these two diverse experiences together?
Ideally the prophetic vision of the Bible would inspire not just our social activism but also our presence within the local Christian community (parish/diocese). The problem is, these are two different types of organisation (the one top-down, static and institutional, the other a dynamic network with local, regional and international social engagement). They also have diverse membership (in the one all are baptised into a specific Christian community, in the other we find adherents from two or more faith communities). Allow me to make the following suggestions.
Two Key Principles 1] The principle that “the Church is for mission not mission for Church” must be upheld. The centre of the parish is the household and its social networks and outreach. Our key Christian witness is not expressed in internal engagement within the parish, but rather with our social witness outside. As Bishop Francis of Rome emphasises time and time again, this priority must remain clear. Rather than a clean, neat, tidy Church suffocating in the sacristy, Bishop Francis calls for a Church out in the streets and by-ways of society, where it will surely get dirty and “smell like the sheep”. 2] Authentic, integral and prophetic faith drives our wish to transform our local BEC/SCC from being a sub-unit within a traditional top-down parish into becoming a vibrant faith-inspired, mission-motivated community. By bringing the BEC/SCC and our NGO experience together we can live more authentic lives.
Widening the Horizon 3] Based on these two principles (the Church-inmission and thus for mission, and the desire to live an authentic, prophetic, integral life of faith), I do not think that we should spend too much time or energy “battling” with a conservative, ritualcentred priest and “his” parish council to the detriment of our faith-inspired, social activism with like-minded and prophetic colleagues of other faith communities. By all means let us make our voice heard at BEC/SCC and parish levels, but let our energy be focused on social engagement. That is what Church community is all about: mission in society. 4] When we participate in our local BEC/SCC, possibly not every week but probably at key moments in the Church’s life such as during Advent and Lent or during the Bible month, then we can allow our experience of social activism inform and shape our Bible sharing and indeed the general conversation. Our social concerns, our experience and our learned skills can assist the BEC/SCC to “think outside the parochial box”, and possibly take up a key social issue. 5] If our local BEC/SCC is focused on internal parish issues (administration and liturgy), then our engagement with the wider society can be utilised to open up our fellow Christians to key social issues which as a matter of fact are impinging on our common life, such as migration that splits families, the rapid though quiet spread of HIV, opencast mining. Our function, then, is to open eyes to the wider social horizon of faith. 6] When occasion arises and it is seen as nonthreatening, we can introduce Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim friends and colleagues to the BEC/SCC, such as when their specific experience or skills would contribute to a social issue that is to be taken up by the BEC/SCC. Also, when an inter-faith “incident” arises, and their presence would help to dissipate harmful prejudice.
Faith Inspiring Social Activism 7] The prophetic “dream” of the BEC/SCC can also inspire our involvement in our social network. As committed Christians we learn to read the Bible with social eyes, picking out the social background and assumptions of each biblical character. We also learn to read the Bible with “the eyes of the other” – with the eyes of the poor, the discarded, the stigmatised. We also listen to our Buddhist/Hindu/Muslim colleagues as they talk of their faith commitment, and perhaps engage in inter-scriptural sharing.
What of the Parish? The above suggestions are all for grassroots transformation. If (by a miracle!) the local priest is like-minded and socially-engaged, and sees the parish as a community-in-mission and not as a religious/ritual-organisation over against society, then the “dream” of the BEC/SCC and our NGO activist experience may also assist in a wider transformation of the local Catholic community at parish and diocesan levels.
In this case the rather static, top-down traditional parish organisation divided into many small administrative sub-units would be transformed into a loose network of a whole kaleidoscope of possible small communities: some of the baptised only, others inter-faith, all in some crucial way involved in mission in society. Here the Pastoral Council with its various committees would not “control” let along “instruct” the “sub-units”, but would rather facilitate open and sincere communication between the more devotional and sacramental minded communites and the more socially-engaged, between those focused on “charity” and those more focused on “justice”, between the poor and the rich, between the young and the old, between the physically and socially disabled and the “healthy”. And so forth.
The parish would not be at the centre, but would facilitate open communication between all the various social networks and commitments in which we are involved: the household, the family, the neighbourhood, work colleagues, giving support through prophetic inspiration, through liturgical celebration of life, through engaging in what it is to be truly human. The parish as a network of a whole variety of communities would be as open to inter-faith communities as it is to communities of the baptised only. Boundaries would not blur, but they would be open to mutual enrichment, mutual conversion, mutual advance towards what the Gospel calls the Reign of God.
Sharing on the Online Course – Basic Theology on the Lay People in the World
By Dwana Andrew
Grateful thanks to ALL Forum for giving me this opportunity to share a few words after joining this liberating session. Amazingly, my journey in this ALL Forum Online Course on Theology of The Laity has brought a profound revelation to me as a “sceptical” Catholic.
Over the years, I became very active in youth engagement in Catholic Church. The way I perceived my life incidents or the reality of my life is determined by the way how I received the teaching from the church. As time goes by, I started to look for more, the “magis”, and that is how the desire to know beyond what I have received in my life thus far, arose.
From this session, I have the conviction that laity is not a mere follower. Laities can and need to understand who we believe, what we believe, why we believe and why we are all important in the building of the church and her sustainability.
The role of the laity becomes important through times. It is Crucial for the Laity to get opportunities to contribute more in the church building; which involve in (not limited to) social structure, economic, knowledge, spirituality gender balance in church leadership and move together as an ecology. Laity too receive the sacrament of baptism (reborn/new again) and the charism (gift/talent) –Apostolic Activity; what does it make for me that I don’t serve as the people of God in the Kinship of God after all the graces that we receive from God.
I believe that laity can help the church in grounding to the reality faced by the people of God in their daily life. This session helped me to reflect on how I walk my faith into daily action; In relating to today’s context, how I make myself valid in the time of COVID-19, what I feel and how I can support others; To connect the church to see what is happening on the ground, the suffering of the people; To see how social justice can be brought in this situation. We have to know what is happening in the world so that our prayer of peace can be manifested for those who are underprivileged.
As the world is evolving, I believe that the laity plays a role to alert the church to always move and be sensitive to the signs of the time. The rise of Catholic Movements acknowledges that clergy & laities can go beyond together and the balance between contemplation and action, both are taking part from the clergy and laity.
After being exposed to a few documents from Vatican II Council & Church documents namely, Apostolic Activity, parecida, Gaudete et Exsultate, I feel that I am liberated as I have now understood how important it is for the laity to have knowledge about the church’ evolution through time, overcoming all the dark sides and staying stronger from time to time in this contemporary world. The reconciliation of clergy & laity surely will bring us to peace and holiness which is afterall a divine call to all of us.
Thank you once again to ALL Forum for organizing and to Dr. Kochurani Abraham for this session. I hope I can go deeper in this discipline
Reflection on “Online All Forum Course on Interreligious Dialogue”
by Salman Maseeh
A general notion and a nature of dialogue is to sit at one table, communicate with people, groups, communities, cultures etc. we have to be very clear in our mind and thought that dialogue does not mean in the strict sense only between believers but with nonbelievers too.
The real purpose of dialogue is to create harmony, unity, sincerity, reverence for persons and base it more on true human relationships. Pope Paul VI writes about dialogue under apostolic aspect in the Encyclical Letter ‘Ecclesian Suam’ “It is by means of dialogue in the sense that the Church performs its chief function in preaching the Gospel, to all men, giving them in a spirit of reverence and love the gifts of grace and truth which Christ deposited with it”. There is one Greek Philosophical saying “Human being are alive because they participate in God” in other words it means that they dialogue with God, but when we compare these words with Holy Bible the tone is totally changed because not only human being participate and dialogue with God but God also participates and takes initiative in entire humanity and dialogues with them. There is another saying that dialogue is in the nature of God.
When we see in the Sacred Scripture, we come to know that God formed man in his own image and put him in the Garden of Eden and gave them command saying man you are free to eat from every tree of the garden but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you should not eat. But men disobey God and commit sin against him. Further we see when they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Lord God. But God called to the man, and said to him, where are you? It is just one example but there are so many references and stories in the Sacred Scripture where we can see God dialogue. Man can live without communities, cultures, religions etc, but he cannot live without having dialogue
When we talk about “Interreligious Dialogue” it should involve mutual gives and take. In Vatican II “Humanae Personae Dignitatem” it mentions that the objective of dialogue is that one should come closer to the other side and should understand it better.
There are also some forms of dialogue mentioned in “Humanae Personae Dignitatem” which says that dialogue should be established only in terms of human relationships, destined to liberate. Dialogue should be established in the realm of truth involving discussion of problems and achievements by common efforts for a better grasp of truth and extension of knowledge. The pastoral Constitution “Gaudium et spes” discusses dialogue with the world as “The preaching of the Gospel is not immediately in question here. Rather it is a dialogue which Christians wish to establish with men, who do not to share their faith, either or in order to search together for the truth in different areas, or in order to solve the more urgent problems of our day by social action”.
I want to conclude while giving congrats to All Forum’s Programs in which they prepare topics relating to Theology, Church Teachings and at the presently a very important topic for social life, to share culture and especially for the course namely “Interreligious Dialogue”. All Forum is providing and giving a platform to Asian Laity as well as Religious who are interested to learn. All Forum Online Course also gives us an opportunity to learn, reflect, share our views and work for the common good.
Today there are about 7 billion people in this world. Our globalised civilization has arrived at the pinnacle of innovation in academics, research, medicine, technology and science ever since we were created. Our economies have grown richer than ever before and our countries stronger than ever before. Although, in contrast we have still failed to establish necessary care, protection and policy to those vulnerable and those who deserve it the most.
Politics today is often taking forms hindering progress towards creating a better world. Misuse of power, corruption everywhere, disregard for the law, war crimes and inefficiency by our Governments and political leaders has given rise to so much instability and unrest among the commoners. The word ‘Politics’ itself has become a distasteful word for many people today, due to the mistakes, inefficiency and corrupt practices by many of our politicians.
The value and power of Dialogue must never be undermined. As Pope Francis mentions in his latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti ‘Approaching, speaking, listening, looking at, coming to know and understand one another, and to find common ground: all these things are summed up in one word “dialogue”. If we want to encounter and help one another, we have to dialogue.’ It is only through dialogue that we can build bridges over walls and fix the misunderstandings amongst communities. We must create spaces for constructive dialogue to take place so that better relations can be developed among the troubled communities to overcome past differences and foster lasting friendships.
We must not ignore and be negligent to the wrong doings of our community leaders and governments. As Christians it is our righteous duty to join the many voices and demand for better politics and take initiatives to grow our voices in solidarity to demand better policy and uphold what is right.
Therefore, in this month’s issue of the E-Newsletter we invite our readers to experience the various efforts and approaches by our networks and partners in Demanding better Politics, Dialogue & Friendship in this world.