Archives August 2021

Reconstruction of The Social Order

Reconstruction of The Social Order

by Neilan D’souza

Dear Readers, in this month’s issue of the E-Newsletter we try and understand the teachings of the Papal Encyclical ‘Quadragesimo Anno’ published by Pope Pius XI in 1931. This encyclical commemorated the 40th anniversary of Rerum Novarum (1891), which was published by the preceding Pope Leo XIII. Both these encyclicals are highly valued because of the social conscience they brought into the faithful and the church and encouraged them to involve deeply in the matters of the society at the time. Quadragesimo Anno focuses on two key principles which need to be part of every planning or decision making process in the world even today. Pope Pius XI calls for the reconstruction of the social order based on the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.

Why Solidarity ?

Solidarity fosters kinship which is crucial for the betterment of all. Being aware of the needs and struggles of one another, coming together on shared interests and matters; and building meaningful and empathetic relationships make us more humane. Thus making Solidarity a significant concept in Catholic Social Teaching.

Why Subsidiarity?

The Catholic Social Teaching of Subsidiarity designates responsibility upon each one of us, either individually or collectively depending on our capability to solve problems or issues in our society. The idea of Subsidiarity makes every individual, group, Family, Community, Church, Society and The Government at large responsible of their duties to create an environment free from Socio- Economic problems.

Living in this pandemic and realising the deteriorating sense of responsibility by the Governments and other Institutions it is high time that the reconstruction of the social order takes place. As ‘People of God’ it is our duty to participate in solidarity and practice subsidiarity because the responsibility of creating a conscious, safe, sensitive, united and peaceful world is upon us.

Asian Women as an Important Agency to Change the Culture of Destroy

Asian Women as an Important Agency to Change the Culture of Destroy

by Dr. Jasmin Nario-Galace

I had the opportunity to do my MA abroad. That was when I was young like many of you here. The dissimilarity between the economic and social environment here and where I studied stared me at the face.

That was more than 23 years ago, but I remember many incidents where I saw the stark contrast between living in the affl’uent North and the global South.

One of these incidents I remember was the university’s anniversary that was held in the football field. All 8,000 students were invited for an afternoon of games, food and fireworks. Thousands of hotdogs, burgers, corn on the cob, apples and oranges flooded the venue and many of my classmates, like me, who were from the Global South had our fill. After the event, garbage trucks came to collect thousands of uneaten food. I was shocked. I went to one of the collectors and argued that the food was still clean and was definitely not garbage and if they could please not throw them away. He just looked at me and continued putting the leftover food into the trash. My classmates from Sri Lanka, Kenya, Palestine and I started saving what we could putting them all in our bags but alas, we could only save a few.

The incident left me upset and somewhat angry. My country (Philippines) is a country where so many people are deprived of enjoying decent meals and there they were, throwing food that could have saved a lot of people here from hunger. That experience was only one of the many where I saw how resources were used in excess; where resource wastage disturbed and haunted me. As I was reflecting on the theme of this year’s forum “Women, Family and Ecological Sustainability,” many such memories of excessive utilization of resources came back, This theme, indeed, is very relevant, if we want the Commons to be saved from further tragedy.

Women, Family and Ecological Sustainability are three different constructs, but definitely related to one another. I see ecological sustainability as the end considering how the Earth is shamelessly utilized. I see the women as agency to attain this end, and I see the family as space where women can use this agency. Why women? It must be because Earth is referred to as our Mother. And Mother Earth, like our mothers, sustains, nurtures and cares- attributes though socially constructed and ascribed to women from the process of socialization- are indeed what the Earth gives to us. It sustains our needs. It yields fruits that make sure we have food, clothing and shelter, among other resources that keep us thriving. So much like our mothers. Our mothers who nursed us in their bosoms to sustain us; mothers who cared for us and nurtured us in our families.

Women, then, can be a very important agency of change to help reverse the culture of domination that destroys our ecological base. And where can this agency be primarily utilized? In the family, in the home, where the values of ecological sustainability are first learned. My husband, who is the bigger environmental advocate between us, would often tell me about his mother who always told them of the concept of “sapat” or “sufficient”. He often told me of his mother who prepared and

apportioned just the right amount of food for the members of the family; of his mother who taught all of them simplicity of lifestyle.

My husband has brought forward these learnings to our family. Hence, our pantry and refrigerator have just the right amount of food. Hardly do we have anything in excess. Our household help cooks only what we can consume. If there is leftover, this is put in the fridge and is to be eaten again.

Indeed, at home, hardly do we put anything to waste, thanks to my husband who was trained by a mother who lived the value of “sapat” or “just enough”.

Indeed, the family, the home is the space where values can be learned and engrained. If the values of simplicity of lifestyle, sufficiency and conservation of resources are learned in the family, these values may be carried forward by the young to other spheres of interaction- to their school, their work, or their community.

Individuals who did not learn these values early on are more predisposed to consumerism; to overconsumption that lead to the overutilization of resources from our ecological base. They are more likely to support a lifestyle that will harm the ecosystem. They are more likely to be anthropo/

centrists who see themselves as above or are separate from the Earth- and not part of it. Hence, they cannot be guardians or stewards of God’s creation. They tend to be users- extracting from wherever they could.

Hence, we are all called to action- and women are called to lead the way in sustaining the ecology. Women are called to lead the way in teaching the young that the Earth is our homeland and is therefore to be cared for and loved. We are called to advocate and model simplicity of lifestyle. We are called to teach our children that the culture of individuality and insistence on personal freedom can prevent us from examining the effects of our choices on others and on the world around us. We are called to campaign for accountability from those who destroy our Common Home. We are called to lead the way to a new beginning.

A Review on the Catholic Women Priests Ordination Movement

A Review on the Catholic Women Priests Ordination Movement

by Balbina Lee Mi-young

Church Reform Movement

It is quite natural for most people in Korea to be surprised to know that the history of the Catholic women priests movement dates back to the 2nd Vatican Council, because the movement itself is a strange subject to them. According to Christine (Christine Mayr Lumetzberger, one of the founders of WOW in spring of 2006 on ‘Catholic Women Priests Campaign’), two German women theologians Ida Raming and Iris Müller6) requested the council to discuss the women priests issue, together with other issues, such as priest bachelorhood and other pastoral issues. Though the actions for the rights of women in church, together with the liberation of women trend, were implemented before the council, it shows this issue was discussed for the reform of church from the nature of the council which had important mission of ‘aggiornamento’ ( A process of modernization of the policies and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church, initiated by the Second Vatican Council (1962–5))

Movements within Catholic Church

People who feel awkward about women priests or, on the contrary, who are sad about the criticism about them suggest that they go to other denominations where women priests are formalized or create a new denomination. Women priests, however, are denying to go out of Catholic church, saying “We are the church.” What they really want is the reform of Catholicism, not any new religion. In fact, many women activists, including Mary Daly, has already left the patriarchal church, and some people who were pursuing a new femininity spirituality movement suggested a new religion like ‘goddess religion’. But these ‘outer’ movements are

being evaluated as not contributing toward the change of the Catholic church. The Catholic church is not listening to these ‘outer’ claims. Now, however, the Catholic church is responding to these internal challenges, although mostly excommunicating or sending same letters repeatedly, explaining why women priests are not allowed. The Catholic church may seem to become more conservative through these denial responses. But those opportunities to

response allows the church to examine this issue. It is easy to go out of the church, escaping from the difficulty. In fact, it is more difficult to stay in church with these criticisms and objections, and their love for the Catholic church enable them to make efforts to change the church.

Can women priesthood really change the church?

Though the movement is pursuing an alternative priesthood and equal participation in the church hierarchy, can women ordination alone bring about a big change in church? Of course, it can bring some changes symbolically. For the basic church reform, however, various methods should be applied. In the case of Korea, aside the Western circumstances, women priests in other denomination have nothing special. In Korea, there have been women pastors from long ago, and women priests are starting to appear in the Anglican Church of Korea. Actually, however, women pastors and priests are experiencing difficulties in general due to those believers who think them unreliable.9) Some women pastors are wearing Roman collars10) everyday to show their priesthood, and sometimes show authoritarianism like other men priests. Is there any certainty that these situations will not be repeated in the Catholic church? It’s difficult to expect changes to take place overnight in Korea from the viewpoint that when female religious are giving the Eucharist during a Mass, there are still many believers who move to the line of a male priest. Without the epoch-making change of thinking on women, women priests itself cannot bring about church reform.

How ordinary believers can share the same sentiment on the movement?

A Catholic laywomen who attended the lecture by Christine said it was difficult for her to accept Christine as a ‘woman bishop’ after being excommunicated from the Vatican and added she wondered how Christine could explain her movement and disposition to the faithful. Although she was a member of a catholic women’s group, she admitted that she was confused about the women priests issue and was shocked by it. How will other ordinary believers who do not have the consciousness about women think about the issue? Also a female pastor Han Guk-Yeom indicated that the women priests continuing on with their priesthood would make the faithful confused by doing so even after being excommunicated from the church authority.

Catholic church believers, more than any other denominations, have traditional values that priesthood is from apostles and that universality is important. Thus they think any trial that the Vatican denies is heresy or an action to split the church. Those who criticize the existing women priests movement are stigmatizing that the movement is trying to split the church only by the facts that they were excommunicated by the Vatican and being ordained by other branches than orthodox Catholic, through raising the orthodox issue. Also the issue itself can be a dispute that could lead to the church split with the deep-rooted prejudice on women.

Actually some Anglican Church bishops, priests and believers converted to Catholic because they could not accept women priests ordinations when the first women were being ordained in the Anglican Church. At the American Protestant Episcopal Church which selected a woman bishop as its head, some parishes even requested to be governed by the Anglican Church in England. The condition that priests should be men is prevailing, not just for the church law. The women priests movement should be a movement to change church families thoughts and values, as well as appealing to the church. It is true that the movement can not persist only by uniting with some sympathizers, and without the support of church families.

ALL Forum Successfully Completed its Online Course on Major Documents of Pope Francis for Indonesian Participants

ALL Forum Successfully Completed its Online Course on Major Documents of Pope Francis for Indonesian Participants

The Online Couse by ALL Forum with the topic ‘Major Documents of Pope Francis’ lead by Dr.Paul Hwang and organised specially for Indonesian participants came to an end after 4 interesting and informative sessions. We had started in the first session in the 1st week of July with ‘Evangeli Gaudium’, the 2nd week with second session on ‘Laudato Si ‘, the third week’s session on ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ and concluded with the 4th week’s session on ‘Fratelli Tutti’.

All in all it was an inspiring and informative session with around 145 participants who joined us multiple times during the 4 session course. Due to the high volume of interested participants who joined in this course, ALL Forum had to divide the participants into two groups (batches), which made it more effective for the learners to participate in discussions during the course.

What made this course more easier for the Indonesian particpants was the inclusion of Language Interpreters during the course. Since English is not a popular vernacular in Indonesia, introducing language interpreters to interpret the session from English to Bahasa Indonesia immensely helped the learners understand the material of the course better.

The recorded lectures of the entire 4 part course is readily available on our own YouTube Channel and the resource material on our website (Archive/Files section) which can be visited anytime for informative purposes and reference. We invite our readers to make use of these readily available resources.

Starting next week ALL Forum will be organising two more weeks of Online Course with the topic
‘Basic Understanding of Church Teachings’ covering areas such as “God and Faith”, Document of Vatican II on Divine Revelation (the Bible, Dei Verbum), “Incarnation and Trinity”, and “Pascal Mystery” .

International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana as it completes 100 years of its birth

 International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana as it completes 100 years of its birth

 2021 is a monumental year to International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana as it completes 100 years of its birth. With its membership of over 1 million spread across over 80 countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North America is a movement started by the Catholic Tertiary students to respond to the Global war, violence and poverty of all forms.

Since, 1921, inspired by the teachings and Life of Christ and Church’s Catholic Social Teaching, IMCS has stood steadfast to the commitment of creating a World of Justice and Peace. This commitment, has led the movement to respond to thousands of different issues & cries of the world globally and locally. In its growth, the movement has engaged in constant rediscovery of itself as a Student Movement, Church Movement and International Movement. In all its engagement and responses across the globe, IMCS has been an embodiment of Spirituality of Action, Inclusiveness, Ecumenism, Solidarity and Internationalism.

As the Pax Romana is celebrating this special milestone of the life of the movement, rather than a mere century long existence, movement celebrates the century long socially relevant and living spiritual activism. Within the past century, the identity of Pax Romana family at the international, regional, national, and local levels has changed and grown to meet the challenges of the world and the local contexts in which they are active. IMCS Pax Romana sees this celebrative moment as an opportunity of reflection and preparation for the upcoming decades of students’ faith activism in the light of the movements’ historical experience of marching with the marginalized.

Asian Lay Leaders Forum is overjoyed in spirit of the centennial milestone achieved by IMCS Pax Romana. ALL Forum itself was founded and established by Alumni of the Asia Pacific Coordination of the IMCS Pax Romana Movement. ALL Forum is also grateful to the inspiring minds and leaders who have strived for the betterment of peoples and the world at large.

 We cordially congratulate IMCS Pax Romana for successfully reaching a centenary and yearn that you may continue your determined journey of faith driven liberation and marching with the marginalized.

Social Justice in Quadragesimo Anno I

Social Justice in Quadragesimo Anno I

by Dr. Paul Hwang –   Director of ALL Forum

Historical background

ALL Forum has been holding an online course on major documents of Pope Francis including ALL Brothers or Fratelli Tutti for Indonesian Catholics including youth.

Mentioned in one session already, Fratelli Tutti has a historical background similar to Pope Pius XI’s 40th Anniversary or Quardragesimo Anno (1931). The latter was published for the 40th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891), which marks the 130th anniversary this year. The first papal document which what we called “Catholic Social Teachings” is a good example of social doctrine.

The 40th Anniversary came almost immediately after the Great Depression (1930), in a situation of fascism in Italy that was Mussolini’s iron fist rule and Hitler’s rush to power in Germany. The encyclical is Pius XI’s attempt to stop the ‘bomb’ called World War II. The background and meaning of the document and Fratelli Tutti which is the most comprehensive of Pope Francis’ documents so far is remarkably similar.

Major Issues

Pius XI criticized both free market capitalism and communism, and sought ‘a third way’ based on traditional Catholic social teachings. Pius XI suggested corporatist structures in place in Italy at that time as the third way between socialism and capitalism. He trusted that such corporatist associations or organizations had the advantages of “peaceful collaboration of the classes, repression of socialist organizations and efforts, the moderating authority of a special ministry.” (no. 95). It introduced the term ‘social justice’ into the social teachings, using it to describe

the just relationships between groups in society required by recognition of the demands of the common good (no. 57-58).

“To each, therefore, must be given his own share of goods, and the distribution of created goods, which, as every discerning person knows, is laboring today under the gravest evils due to the huge disparity between the few exceedingly rich and the unnumbered propertyless, must be effectively called back to and brought into conformity with the norms of the common good, that is, social justice.” (no.58)

Another important contribution is its formal articulation of the principle of subsidiarity in Catholic Social Teachings as follows:

“Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.” (no.79)

Lastly, Pius XI’s encouragement of laymen’s participation both inside and outside the church by formulating Catholic Action in Quardragesimo Anno and particularly his document called Divini Redemptoris (1937) which more clearly and formally recognized the Catholic Action. That would be compared to the Pope Francis’ statement of the “popular movements” as “social poets” (no.169) in the Fratelli Tutti which we will dig into in the next issue.

Reflection after joining Online course – Evangeli Gaudium

Reflection after joining Online course – Evangelii Gaudium

By Susana Sitaresmi Kusuma Wardhani

Shalom Asian Lay Leaders Forum, Thank you so much for allowing me to join with your first lecture Joy of the Gospel as a summary of Evangelii Gaudium from our Pope. Your explanations really helped me to understand about my faith and the presence of our Catholic church is not self-centered but reaching out for the poor people.

Your lecture about Evangelii Gaudium taught me the new concepts about integral human development and our church as a field hospital. I see the profound connection between evangelization and human development which much necessarily finds expressions and development in every work of evangelization and encourages all Christians to demonstrate it by their words, attitudes and deeds.

Only after which, we can make dialogue with science, society and have a conversation with other religions and our faith by not opposing them, but by knowing what we should do in our community and our life as a member of the Catholic Church.

A Reflection on Joy of the Gospel

A Reflection on Joy of the Gospel

By Rowena Suryobroto

After attending the first session, I realized how afraid our churches are and why we need the apostolic letter of the Pope to make us realize the true meaning of the gospel. Amid the pandemic a large part of the people in my parish have gone into hiding, refusing to serve others, even from the safety of their own homes. It seems as though we have made the pretext of the pandemic and the danger contracting the corona virus a reason not to help others.

I also realize that we are surrounded by the sick. Not just their bodies but also their souls and faith. But People today have lost the motivation to serve anymore. The altar boys and girls do not commune anymore, even via smart phones. Their parents refuse to allow them to serve in the church, even when the pandemic was slowing down a couple months ago.

Parents don’t see that the children’s spirits need to be together with their brothers and sisters who are fading away. And somehow it feels as if there is no way for us to grow it again. I feel hopeless. If the children who were active in the church are beginning to leave, then who is left to become the next generation of the Catholics? How are we going to help them? or cure them?

On the other hand most people believe that the virus exists only If they themselves or their close relatives have suffered from it, badly. If not, then the virus doesn’t exist.

Which is risking the life of the doctors and nurses who are trying to make them stay at home or isolated in the hospital.

If our children have not found a huge barrier in their life where they feel the need to return to the church, then what can we do?

I realize, just like a field hospital as Pope Francis has mentioned, we should do 2 things at once: (1) Is to be opened for the sick, opened to the possibility of contagions, opened to be dirty and poor, opened to the possibility of being an object of anger and frustration of the people we care for; and (2) to seek for the sick and to bring them into our field hospital, our church, to be cared for.