Seoul, South Korea, Aug 18, 2004 / 22:00 pm
The issue of the acculturation of the Gospel into the Asian way of life and the issues arising from globalization, such as increasing consumerism, have emerged as central challenges for the Church in Asia in the deliberations of the 8th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) under way in Daejeon, South Korea.
In the opening speech Mgr. Robert Sarah, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, emphasized the need to correctly understand the notion of acculturation. It is not, he said, “mere religious folklore and cannot simply mean incorporating local Asian languages, musical instruments, and dances into the liturgy.”
Acculturation to the Gospel, Bishop Sarah said, means having “God enter someone’s life and thought process” changing his or her “moral behaviour and culture” since “there always is a difference between their culture and the Gospel.”
He cited the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta as an example of the right motivation for the Evangelization of Asia. “She saw in the destitute the one Jesus to love, serve, and help. Her example should make it easier for the Church to evangelise through love in Asia.”