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Lay People in the Asian Church

A Critical Study of the Theology of the Laity in the Documents of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences with Special Reference to John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation «Ecclesia in Asia» and the Pastoral Letters of the Vietnamese Episcopal Conf

Peter Nguyen Van Hai

This book investigates the role of the laity in the Asian Church. Lay people have three responsibilities: proclaiming the Gospel, be a witness of life, and the triple dialogue with the cultures, the religions, and the poor. Focusing on the triple dialogue, the bishops of Asia have offered fresh ideas to address three global trends in society: the revolution in communications technologies which blurs the cultures; the conflicts between followers of different religions; and the advance of globalisation which leaves in its aftermath the poverty of the masses.


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Chapter 10. The Future of the Fabc’s Theology of the Laity


233 Chapter 10 The Future of the Fabc’s Theology of the Laity As this book comes to its conclusion, it would be worthwhile to recall what prompted our journey of research in the first place and where we have come in this exploration� This study set out to examine the role of the laity in the con- textual theology of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (1970–2012) with special reference to John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortations Christifideles Laici (1989) and Ecclesia in Asia (1999), and the pastoral letters of the Vietnamese Episcopal Conference� Throughout this study a twofold question has constantly been raised—has there been a development in the FABC’s theology of the laity, and to what extent does this theology represent an integration of, and a step beyond, other postconciliar theologies of the laity? In the course of responding to this question, we have considered the entire corpus of the FABC, all relevant material produced by John Paul II, the pastoral letters of the VEC, in particular those issued in 1980 and 2001, and other literature that deals with the question of the laity and its underlying ecclesiological framework� Given the scope of this study and the period of the development of these theologies, the methodology employed has been at the same time diachronic and synchronic, critical, analyti- cal, and comparative� Three general observations emerged from our investigation of this topic� First, there is both a fundamental continuity and a gradual development in the Asian bishops’ theology...

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