|Santo Nino de Cebu (Photo by Pinoy916)|
Pope Francis seems to think that the Roman Catholic Church has been far too preoccupied with what occurs in Europe and North America, and not focused enough upon what occurs in outlying areas.
David Gibson of The Washington Post reports that Catholicism has been growing faster in Asia “than any place else except Africa.” Pope Francis will be visiting South Korea next week to participate in “Asian Youth Day, a Catholic jamboree that will draw young people from 29 Asian countries.”
Come January, Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines. A trip to Japan is also being considered. These travel plans are markedly different from those of Pope Benedict XVI, who had never visited Asia during his pontificate.
Because Asian churches are rather distant from the Vatican, they are often more independent than the ones closer to Rome. Pope Francis has actually encouraged this type of decentralization.
Perhaps “breathing space” is just what the Catholic Church needs in order to re-energize itself. Rev. William Grimm, a Maryknoll priest based in Tokyo, explains that Asian Christians tend to have “a degree of
commitment that would be heroic in the West.”
Copyright August 13, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved