Archives September 2022

End Nuclear Weapons!

By Neilan D’souza

The discovery of Nuclear energy was one of the greatest discoveries of mankind. Being able to produce so much energy from such a small source was truly a break through discovery. But as time went by and newer discoveries being made on how to maximize the effect of this energy along with the World War situation the whole notion of Nuclear energy shifted from being a clean source of energy generation for Earth to a Weapon of mass destruction.

Everyone knows about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incident which took place around 77 years ago on August 6th and 9th, 1945; where more than 200,000 people in Hiroshima and more than 140,000 in Nagasaki died a very tragic and suffering death. We cannot imagine the pain of those thousands of people who experienced that death or being vaporized in seconds due to the blast of the atomic bomb dropped on them by the USA during WW2.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombing/Photo:Historia Daily

UN research says that today around 12,705 nuclear weapons remain. The Countries which possess such weapons have well-funded, long-term plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals. Even shocking is that more than half of the world’s population still lives in these countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances. While the number of deployed nuclear weapons has appreciably declined since the height of the Cold War, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty. In addition, no nuclear disarmament negotiations are currently underway.

If just 2 atomic bombs are capable of such destruction with the technology back in 1945 imagine how much more worse it can be in this era. With the ongoing Russia Ukaraine war, China – Taiwan tensions, India – Pakistan, North and South Korea, Israel – Palestine conflicts there are just a few countries who are also strong Nuclear Powers pose very dangerous situations ahead to people living here.

Achieving global nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations. It was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946, which established the Atomic Energy Commission (dissolved in 1952), with a mandate to make specific proposals for the control of nuclear energy and the elimination of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.

Rusia and Ukraine War/Photo:CNN

The United Nations has been at the forefront of many major diplomatic efforts to advance nuclear disarmament since. Even Pope Francis on his visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2019 condemned the use and possession of nuclear weapons by any state as “immoral”, and urged support for “the principal international legal instruments of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”. He said that international peace cannot rest on a balance of military power, but must be based on mutual trust, and that a world without nuclear weapons is “possible and necessary”. Therefore as we commemorate the International day for total elimination of Nuclear Weapons on the 26th of September as a Church lets us stand together, united with our neighbour religions and every citizen to oppose the National interests in our countries which praise Nuclear Weaponry, Nuclear Research and Nuclear power generation, so that we can put an end to re-occurrence of Nuclear disasters.*

Flood In Pakistan

By Ashiknaz Khokhar (Human Rights Activist)

Pakistan is facing massive flood due to moonsoon catastrophe since mid of June. More than 70% areas of Pakistan is affected with flood. Approximately 40 millions population affected by this flood and according to the data of National Disaster Management Authority Pakistan more than 1500 people died due to flood disaster. Womens, Children, Senior citizens and disabled people are mostly in the list who losses their lives. Huge number of livestocks died and hundreds of bridges destroyed. 2 million houses, Hundreds of hotels and more than 12735 KM roads destroyed. Four provinces of Pakistan (Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Balochistan) are badly damaged.

Prime Minister of Pakistan declared emergency in the country and call upon the international community for help Pakistan during this hard time. General Secretary of UNO visited Pakistan and told the international community that Pakistan is facing humanitarian crises and call upon all agencies to help Pakistan. He also said that this is just a start of destruction due to climate change if world is not taking proper measures this will expand on bigger level.

Pope Francis also appeal in His sermon that Pakistan is in need so we all should come forward to help brothers and sisters in Pakistan. Many NGOs and organizations are helping the flood victims to rescue them from the water and giving them safe place to stay. Unfortunately this destruction is on so big scale that people are not getting any shelter. 

In some of the areas water going down but there are now diseases taking place like diaheria, malayeria and skin diseases. There is also shortage of medicine and medical staff.  In recent weeks there are hundred of people get the snake bites and this mostly happening with kids. More than 47000 women’s are pregnant which are going to give birth in few days but there are not proper hospitals for them.

Fr. Zahid Augustine, parish priest of sacred heart church and In charge of Active Youth Group said that He never saw this kind of natural disaster before and he call upon pariahners to help the flood affectees. Ashiknaz Khokhar, executive Secretary of Active Youth Group holds fund raising camp in several areas and reaching to affectees areas with cook food, medicines and ration bags.*

Promoting Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue for Common Good: Challenges for Young Catholics in Indonesia

By Novita Sari

ALL Forum with Pemuda Katolik Indonesia have organized an Online Course with the theme “Promoting Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue for the Common Good: Challenges for Catholic Young People in Indonesian Context.” This online course was carried out for 4 meetings with topics including Extremism of young people, globalization and the role of the media, interfaith education and the last one being challenges and opportunities. The main speaker, Father JB. Heru Prakosa, SJ who is an advisor to the Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims under the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue, and two Muslim religious leaders were invited as responders.

The first week session opened with an explanation of the demographics of young people and the current conditions in Indonesia. We learnt that although Indonesia has a large population of youth, they have been vulnerable to all the events that have occurred here. Father Heru as the speaker gave reasons why extremism can occur, among others, because of 3 emptinesses, namely: emptiness of mind due to limitations in critical thinking, emptiness of the heart because of not being able to face existing differences, and an empty stomach due to social economic problems that make a person want to do anything for money.

Furthermore, in the second week, there was a theme discussing how globalization and the role of the media has contributed to fostering differences and created more spaces of conflict. Often people think that they themselves are God. This solely wrong and considers ‘Others’ as different from ‘Us’, and this gives rise to negative sentiments towards other groups. As youth, we are invited to be aware of this and be able to use the media as a means of reporting this misunderstanding.

The third week’s material was about interfaith education; where there were tips on how we should proceed- firstly from understanding our own contexts, then learning about differences among others and how we can evaluate what we have done. The fourth week, which was the last week, Father Heru explained the challenges and opportunities that can be utilized by young people in promoting interfaith dialogue.

The interesting thing about this online course was that speakers from outside the catholic religion also gave their views on the topic or theme in terms of personal experience or knowledge of their religion. This increased and further enriched my knowledge. Like the 3rd meeting with the speaker from the Muhammadiyah figure, Nugroho Noto Susanto, I came to know that they also learned from catholicism and applied it to their institutions whose results were good. This reassures me that whatever good deeds we do will definitely have benefits for others and it will be a bridge of humanity for those in need.

According to Kyai Ahmad Suaedy, who is a responder of Nahdlatul Ulama, nowadays people are religious to distinguish themselves from others, there is a change in religion, where previously to accept others now it is precisely to build identity. Differences are inevitable but we can learn. There is nothing wrong and nothing is in vain if we try to learn and understand the differences that exist because from this a sense of humanity can arise so as to reduce humanitarian conflicts with religious backgrounds that in recent times continue to occur in Indonesia.

The challenges for us are still many, even greater with today’s world that is increasingly not distant and very connected, due to the rapidly growing digital world. I see that the more the world has grown connected because of the growth of digital technology, the more distance it has created because hatred has easily grow and developed. Now, a lot of hatred actually arises from social media, attacking each other without caring about the sense of humanity that exists.

Father Heru advised that we must be able to filter all the information we get and also think critically, not only accepting or seeing in black and white, because this can be dangerous for us in seeing the differences that exist in this world. Dialogues and online courses such as those organized by ALL Forum must be carried out more often by inviting more diverse religions and cultures to create tolerance without judgment.*

ALL Forum Online Course for Pemuda Katolik – Indonesia

ALL Forum successfully completed 4 sessions of Online Course for members of Pemuda Katolik in Indonesia. The Online Course was lead by Fr.Heru Prakosa SJ with the main theme “Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue for Common Good: A Challenge for Catholic Youths in the Indonesian Context. Week wise we dealt with ‘Youth extremism’ in the first session, ‘Globalization and the role of media’ in the second session, ‘Significance of Interreligious education’ during the third session and ‘Challenges and opportunities: Indonesian youths and citizenship’ in the last session.

Every week around 25 participants actively joined and spent an effective 50 minutes of Lecture which was followed by 30-40 minutes of open forum for discussion. During the second and third session Globalization and the role of media and ‘Significance of Interreligious education’, two Muslim guest responders Nugroho Noto Susanto and Kyai Ahmad Suaedy were invited to participate and share their views so that we could enrich our learning experiences. The participants found this format more interesting and useful as they were able to directly ask their concerns and discuss with Nugroho Noto Susanto and Kyai Ahmad Suaedy followed by their 30 minutes of sharing. All recordings of the Online Course can be found on Youtube Channel @ALL Forum Asian Lay Leaders. The reading material can also be found in the Archive section of our website. Please subscribe to stay updated and connected with ALL Forum.*

ALL Forum Moving School Bangladesh 2022

In August 2022 ALL forum facilitated Moving School in Bangladesh with the theme theme “Youth for Interreligious/Intercultural Dialogue and Collaboration Promoting Religio-Cultural Pluralism for Public Good” along with Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement (BCSM) students.

It was a very interesting experience to understand how Interreligious interactions take palace in communities, especially, among indigenous communities who have adopted Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. Around 45 participants actively participated during this Moving School in Bangladesh. On the first day during community immersion the participants divided into 4 groups visited 4 different areas viz. Madhupur in Thangall District, Nalitabari and Jenaigati both in Sherpur District and Kalmakanda in Netrokona District.

Some participants of Moving School Bangladesh 2022


The first group visited Madhupur in Thangall District were engaged in learning about the land grabbing issues faced by the indigenous community living there by the Bangladesh forest department for the purpose of lake digging. Another group visited Nalitabari in Sherpur District to engage with three indigenous communities, especially to learn how they are able to live harmoniously amid preexisting cultural and religious differences between Koch, Hajong and Garo communities. The third group visited Jhenaigati area also in Sherpur District to understand and learn about the land grabbing issues and importantly about deforestation and rampant destruction by wild elephants in the area. And the last group of participants visited Kalmakanda in Netrokona District to spend time with the local communities and learn from their experiences when they were drastically affected by the recent July Floods in Bangladesh and also understand the issue of sand mining from river.

Followed by the Immersion, participants were engaged in 5 workshops spanning over 3 days. We dealt with thematic areas such as “Vicious Circle of Poverty and Corruption in Bangladesh: What Could, or Should Youth do about it?” With the morning session lead by Mr. Apurbo Mrong, the Regional Director, Caritas Mymensingh; who dealt with “Reason Why Poverty and Corruption Worsened in Bangladesh Today: Role of Civil Society including Church and FBOs” followed by the afternoon session lead by Br.Guillaume de Wolf, a Taize Brother and Social Worker; on “Promoting Religious Tolerance and Cultural Pluralism for the Peace between Religions and in the Society.


On the second day of workshops we dealt with the thematic area “Youth for Promoting “Synodality” or Synodal Church for Human Rights and Interreligious Dialogue/Cooperation with the morning session lead by Mr. Paul Hwang, Director, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum; on “Significance of Synodality and Its Implementation for Interreligious/ Intercultural Citizenship for Common Good followed by the afternoon session lead by Mr. Neilan D’souza, Coordinator, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum; on “Youth as Advocate for Human Rights especially Women in Bangladesh Co-facilitated by Mrs. Rosey Rongma, from Caritas Mymensingh.

On the third day of workshops we dealt with the thematic area The Cry of the Poor the Cry of the Earth: Justice and Peace for the Humanity and the Earth” with the morning session lead by Mrs. Suborna Poli Drong, the Executive Director, Shanti Mitra Somaj Kolyan Songshtha; on “Promoting Harmony and Reconciliation between the Nature and the Humanity by Practicing ‘Ecological Conversion’ and Sustainable Development in Asia”. We ended the workshops with a thorough synthesis which helped the participants connect and realise the need and importance of likely workshops. We closed the program with a closing mass followed by a Cultural evening where the Bangladeshi Youth transformed the evening with their wonderful talents through various song, music and dance performances.*

The Interrelatedness of All: Rites and Rituals

By Rev. Yangkahao Vashum

The creation myths are also about interrelatedness and connectedness of all beings. That we are all intrinsically related to one another and what one does affects each other, for good or bad. The underlying assumption is the peaceful co-existence of the whole creation and human kind. Because of the organic relationship that humans maintain with other creatures, what one does good or ill affects non-human creatures too. This interrelatedness between humanity and all of creation is reflected further in the performances of rites and rituals. Rites and rituals for the indigenous people are an integral part of life. They are performed for maintaining balance and harmony in the community. They convey the message of wholeness and unity. It is basically for this that, although the rituals are performed by an individual, it is done for and on behalf of the whole community.

For instance at the time of sowing the [rice] paddy, the village chief offered sacrifices and performed the paddy sowing rites a day ahead of the people. If in some rare cases, an individual by mistake [or willfully] did the sowing ahead of the village chief the entire village 110suffered from failure of crops that particular year and had to face famine. (1)

In the tribal perception, neither humanity nor creation is unique in itself. In this sense, there is a distinction but no separation between humanity and creatures, the being and beings and all other entities. A distinction is made only at the existential level. K. Thanzauva, a Mizo theologian, points out that the apparent hierarchy in the relationship of beings is not a social order or the idea of degradation. (2) He goes on to say that, though there are functional differences, God, human and world form a community in which they are interrelated and hence it is appropriate to describe this relationship as a “community model of relationship.”


1) R. R. Shimray, Origin and Culture of the Nagas (New Delhi: Privately published by Mrs. Pamleiphi Shimray, 1985), 22f.

2) K. Thanzauva, Theology of Community: Tribal Theology in the Making (Aizawl: Mizo Theological Conference, 1997), 157.

What Can Public Theology Do in Asia?

By Rowena Robinson

It is clear from all the definitions, that public theology is understood as advising rather than advocating for society of any section of it. In so far as this is the case, it must rely on and work with other secular and religious institutions of civil society and seek to engage with them in a critical understanding of social and political issues in the light of its own spiritual insights into what constitutes the ‘good society’. At the same time, there is no reason to limit ourselves to the perception that public theology emerges only from the church.

In the plural religious contexts of Asian societies, it is certainly true that Christian theology will learn from other religious traditionsand use these to reflect on itself; but that alone is not what I refer to here. One must look for, reflect on and relate to other religious theologies in a dialogue that is not merely framed as “Christianity in an inter-religious context’ but as Christian theology in an inter-theological conversation.

As such, there is much labor for public theology in Asian societies: the work of justice; of decreasing profound economic and social inequalities and lessening social, political and religious conflict. The question has been raised of how ‘equal’ ‘the debates of the public sphere can be, when deep inequalities prevent large sections of the people — women, Dalits, tribals, religious, ethnic or sexual minorities — from having a voice on that terrain? It must hence be the effort of public theology to expand the sphere of public debate and to enable — really and discursively — the participation of marginalized sections. At the same time, nothing can be more destructive to the public sphere if it seeks to take over the work of the state or trample on its institutional and Constitutional framework. Certainly, emotions run high in areas of society outside the state. As Wilfred (1) suggests, the notion of the ‘public’ finds it difficult to accommodate elements that go beyond ‘reason’ and enter into the space of the ‘non-rational’ or of ‘pure affect’.

While certainly the public sphere must be made more sensitive to modes of thinking that lie outside the strict domain of Weberian rationality, it seems to me that the work of public theology is not only to make a space for the ‘non-rational’ within the ‘public’ but to persuade the ‘emotional’ to speak a language that may be communicable to all and that may allow ‘state’ and ‘society’ to converse. Society needs to listen to the anguish of the oppressed, but we should also recall Ambedkar’s discomfort with those who employ unconstitutional methods relying on forms of emotional coercion such as fasts or satyagraha to put pressure on the state. Ambedkar prescience discerned how these forms of protest could result in hero worship that subverts institutional structures and he referred to these as being nothing less than the ‘grammar of anarchy’.

The public sphere is certainly complex and plural; it may also be thought of as being multi-layered. Public theology can certainly do the work not only of creating the space for the voiceless’to speak but also of listening to and ‘feeling’ the agony of the deprived or of the victims of violence and injustice. At the same time, their labor will be directed to strengthening and engaging the Constitutional institutions of the state rather than bypassing these. Though a critique of the state is undeniably part of siding with the marginalized, this critique does not try to ignore or diminish the state but tries to make it more responsive. Public theologians will have the challenging task of mediating between the ‘subjective’ and the ‘objective’, the ‘individual’ and the ‘state’, the ‘personal’ and the ‘institutional’ so that these do not talk past each other, but instead engage in a continuing and more effective conversation. Without this mediation, ‘emotion’ and ‘reason’ may never be able to dialogue.

There are different spheres in which the work of public theology is of relevance in Asia. To mention only one of the important areas, I refer to the threat of Hindu nationalism in India, which requires theologians not so much to close in on themselves, but to join together with civil society organizations (which are run by a wide-range of people of all religious faiths) and minorities to ensure the protection of India’s plural culture and its Constitutional commitment to political secularism. In this respect, I believe that the Christian Church in particular can play a central role. With the depth of its establishment, it has the potential for creating a strong network of those working for peace and conflict-management. The point here is that the Church has resources — institutional, intellectual and so forth — and these should be part of its work of public theology. Then, public theology will not be only about conversation, but also about the sharing and building of the social and cultural capital of those with whom theologians are engaged.

To conclude, I wish to say — drawing on Wilfred (2)theologians should consider the fields of the social, the political, the cultural and the economic as legitimate and viable ‘fields of action’. In my understanding, this should imply that if public theology responds to society, the most important need for Asian societies today is upright and ethical citizens in every walk of life. Corruption has, indeed, corroded public life. In such circumstances, public theologians must also work in the world, and not only reflect on it or critique it as members of theological bodies or institutions. In other words, we need also a considerable number of theologians to work from within — to participate in the-world-as trained economists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, professors — and to inform their work, their engagements with others and their commitment to their profession with the strong ethical, principled and moral stance that their spiritual training and insights will give them. I have the leadership and guidance that such persons can provide within secular institutions or groups and the ways in which they can transform the work of such organizations from within. They lead by example as well as by word and that might be the most transformative role that they can play in the somewhat floundering societies of Asia today.



1&2 Felix, Wilfred, “Asian Public Theology”, Lecture delivered in ‘Trinity College, Dublin: 20 January, 2011. See also Felix Wilfred, Asian Public Theology: Critical Issues in Challenging Times, Delhi: ISPCK, 2011.

Nuclear Power Generation is Like Nuclear Weapons

By Dr. Paul Hwang (Director ALL Forum)

In this September issue, I will talk about and focus a Korean issue in relation to nuclear power generation for Asian young ones.

South Korea’s new president, who was elected in the presidential election last May, has made a number of problematic remarks. Among them, he denounced the previous administration’s nuclear-free policy as “stupid.” “If we had not done stupid things for five years and had built a solid nuclear power plant ecosystem, there would be no competitors now,” said the new president.

Judging from this logic, the current government’s ‘not stupid’ is, of course, a ‘pro-nuclear policy’. To revitalize the nuclear power plant industry, it is said that the nuclear power plant will be built again, and old nuclear power plants close to its expiry will be utilized by extending their lifespan. t is an energy policy in the opposite direction to that of the previous government. From the current government’s point of view, not only the previous government, but also the Korean Catholic Church, which opposes all nuclear technologies including nuclear power plants, is doing something stupid also.

This is because the Catholic Church’s opposition to nuclear technology is clearly expressed in the document titled “Nuclear Technology and the Teachings of the Church – The Korean Catholic Church’s Reflection on Nuclear Power” published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) in November, 2013. After the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan in March 2011, the CBCK published this document to urge the transition to a nuclear-free society.

This pamphlet is based on the conviction that “nuclear power generation poses a serious threat to mankind and will leave a catastrophe for future generations.” In particular, the bishops decided to use the term ‘nuclear technology’ as an official term rather than the term ‘atomic power generation’ in response to the problem of diluting the negative image of nuclear technology. In particular, it raises the issue of the right to life and the right to the environment in relation to nuclear weapons.

“In relation to nuclear weapons, things to reflect on are especially the right to life and the right to the environment. Nuclear technology (nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants) seriously violates the right to life and the right to the environment. The logic of nuclear deterrence that we have nuclear weapons to protect our right to life is not valid. … The logic that nuclear power is a means for economic development is also unacceptable. Everyone has economic rights. But no right can take precedence over the right to life” (no.119).

It also points out that “The government, business, science and media all approach nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation only with economic logic without ethical reflection.” (no.135) As I mentioned earlier, the current government announced that it would push ahead with the plan to include nuclear power in Korea’s “K-Taxonomy” or the green classification system, going beyond the ‘foolishness’ of the previous administration’s policy to phase out nuclear power. Renewable energy, which must be urgently increased to respond to the climate crisis, is behind the scenes. It remains to be seen whether the energy policy of ‘increasing only nuclear power plants’ in Korea, where the share of renewable energy is the only one among major countries, is desirable.

Let’s go back to the document of the Korean bishops who are deeply concerned about the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis in Japan. They point out that the problem of radioactive contamination at the Fukushima nuclear power plant still shows no sign of being resolved. The problem with nuclear power plants, as seen in the Fukushima accident, is beyond human capabilities to manage.

I talked much about the Korean nuclear power issue here, but in fact, the confrontation between India and Pakistan both of whom have nuclear weapons, is a very serious problem, along with the issue of denuclearization between the South and the North Korea, and the discharge of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plants. It is important to publicize the still controversial nuclear power plant issue and lead an open and transparent discussions on it.

From a Christian’s point of view, it seems appropriate for the current society to move away from the social atmosphere that despises life because of its economic value and move toward a society that truly respects life. It is time to seriously consider the transition to a renewable, eco-friendly energy-centered policy, rather than nuclear or coal-fired power generation that forces the suffering of the powerless.