Indian Cardinal to Lead Asian Bishops Amid Church Growth

Indian Cardinal to Lead Asian Bishops Amid Church Growth

Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, has been elected as the incoming president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) during the assembly held in Bangkok, Thailand. He will succeed Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, and his term will commence in January 2025.

At 71 years old, Cardinal Ferrão, who currently presides over the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, will assume leadership of the FABC amid a period of sustained growth for the Church in Asia. Despite declining membership in Western Europe and North America, the Catholic community in Asia is expanding, as highlighted by statistics indicating a net increase in the global number of baptized Catholics.

The Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae reported that Asia is home to 149.1 million Catholics, comprising 3.31% of the region's population of 4.5 billion people. Notably, Asia also hosts a significant portion of the world's religious sisters, with 28.9% residing in the continent. Furthermore, there has been a 1% rise in the number of priests in recent years.

The growing importance of Asia within the Catholic Church is evident in Pope Francis' efforts to increase representation from the region in the College of Cardinals. Currently, out of 129 cardinal electors, 22 hail from Asia, making it the second-largest represented region in this sacred body. The pope's decision to include Mongolia, East Timor, Singapore, and South Korea as new cardinal electors during the August 2022 consistory underscores this commitment.

Additionally, recent diplomatic engagements in Asia, such as the 2023 agreement between the Holy See and Vietnam allowing for permanent resident papal representatives, demonstrate the Church's renewed focus on the region. Moreover, the ongoing series of episcopal appointments in the People's Republic of China, in accordance with the Sino-Vatican Accord, signifies the significance of Asia in the global Catholic landscape.

In summary, Cardinal Ferrão's election as president of the FABC reflects the growing prominence of Asia within the Catholic Church, signaling a new chapter of leadership amidst the region's continued growth and development.

The comments posted here are not from Cnews Live. Kindly refrain from using derogatory, personal, or obscene words in your comments.