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Exploring Images Of The Church: Church as Bodhi Tree in Myanmar

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This is the master thesis of Maung John in Missiology. It talks about mission situation in Myanmar vis-a-vis inculturation, Christian-Buddhist Dialogue, and so on.

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Exploring Images Of The Church: Church as Bodhi Tree in Myanmar

  1. 1. TITLE PAGEEXPLORING IMAGES OF THE CHURCH: THE BODHI TREE AS IMAGE OF THE MISSIONARY CHURCH IN MYANMAR BR. MAUNG JOHNSubmitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Theology of Consecrated Life Major in Missiology GRADUATE DEPARTMENT ST. ANTHONY MARY CLARET COLLEGE April 2008
  2. 2. ii Approval SheetThe thesis attached hereto, entitled “Exploring Images of the Church: The Bodhi Treeas Image of the Missionary Church in Myanmar” prepared and submitted byBRO. MAUNG JOHN in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master ofArts in Missiology is hereby accepted. (Signature) Fr. Edgar Javier, SVD Advisor (Signature)Fr. Domingo Moraleda, CMF Member (Signature)Fr. Jose Ma. Ruiz Marquez, CMF Member Accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Artsin Missiology. (Signature) Beulah D. Nuval, Ed. D. Dean
  3. 3. iii DEDICATION ToChristians of Various Theological Persuasions And People of Different Religious Professions In Myanmar
  4. 4. iv ACKNOWLEDGMENT The Gift of Dharma Excels All Other Gifts. “To pay homage to God, Dharma, Sangha, Teachers, and Parents” is the fivefoldBurmese socio-religious teaching (annandaw annanda nga pa) which the researcher isdeeply obliged to fulfill for the accomplishment of his thesis. Fr. Edgar G. Javier, SVD his professor and mentor has fully deserved this homagein a special way for his great enlightenment. Fr. Daniel F. Pilario, CM his professor inmethodology has equally deserved this homage for teaching him research skills. Dr.Emmanuel de Guzman, Ph.D. his humble professor has duly deserved this homage forchallenging him to conduct this research. Fr. Domingo Moraleda, CMF his academic supporter and protector has genuinelydeserved this homage for his various helps for studies. Dr. Beulah D. Nuval, Ed. D. deanof Dean of St. Anthony Mary Claret College has deserved a big gratitude for her valuablehelp for this research. The colleagues and friends of the student are given “a big thanks”for their criticisms, suggestions, and insights in the process of this thesis writing. The personnel of Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia (ICLA), St. VincentSchool of Theology (SVST) and Maryhill School of Theology (MST) are fullyacknowledge for the academic support and for all their generous supports throughout thisstudy. The anonymous supporters are gracefully thanked for their generosity. Again, allthese persons have deserved the greatest gratitude of the researcher for all their noble giftof Dharma of intellectual support which surpasses all other gifts.
  5. 5. v THESIS ABSTRACT There were the images of the Church. They change throughout the history. Butsome remain. Yet some disappear. Few emerge gradually. Each generation has their ownself-images. The new generation reflects its identity and nature with visual images. One’sself-understanding changes in an environment and when the circumstances are changed. There are many images of the Church. The nature and identity of the Church arediscovered by exploring its present images. Images mirror the reality. They become self-discovery tools. We can envision, project the Church to be in a new way by giving newimages as we turn out to be as we dream. Thus, Christians propose many images for it. Many images are so intangible in other contexts that the right images are required.First, this thesis inquires the current images of the Church in Myanmar. It then exploresthe historical images of the Church in the Bible, Church documents and theologies.Thirdly, it proposes “the Bodhi tree” as an appropriate image for the missionary Church. This research intends to be of help for lessening the foreign face of the Churchand the growth of Christianity. It finds out a new way of being the local Church in amulti-religious context. In this new way of being Church we also discover the proper wayof doing theology of mission.
  6. 6. vi ABBREVIATIONSAAS Acta Apostolicae SedisASEAN Association of Southeast Asian NationsBEC Basic Ecclesial CommunityBHC Basic Human CommunityBIC Basic Interfaith/Interreligious CommunityCBCM Catholic Bishops’ Conference of MyanmarCRCM Catholic Religious Conference of MyanmarEA Ecclesia in Asia (1999)EU The European UnionEN Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975)ES Ecclesiam Suam (1964)FABC The Federation of Asian Bishops’ ConferencesFAPA For All the Peoples of Asia (Volumes I-IV)EAPR East Asian Pastoral ReviewGS Gaudium et Spes (1965)LG Lumen Gentium (1964)MCC Myanmar Council of ChurchesNA Nostra Aetate (1965)NT-OT New Testament - Old TestamentRM Redemptoris Missio (1990)SPDC State Peace and Development CouncilUK United KingdomUS United States
  7. 7. vii TABLE OF CONTENTSTITLE PAGE…. ................................................................................................................ iAPPROVAL SHEET ........................................................................................................ iiDEDICATION….............................................................................................................. iiiACKNOWLEDGMENT ................................................................................................. ivABBREVIATIONS .......................................................................................................... viTABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................................... viiCHAPTER I INTRODUCTION ................................................................................ 1 A. Background of the Study ................................................................... 1 B. Statement of the Problem .................................................................. 3 C. Significance of the Study .................................................................. 3 D. Scope and Limitation of the Study .................................................... 5 E. Review of Literature and Related Studies ......................................... 5 F. Conceptual Framework ...................................................................... 9 G. Definition of Terms ......................................................................... 10 H. Methodology ................................................................................... 13 I. Organization of the Study ............................................................... 13CHAPTER II IMAGES OF THE CHURCH IN THE BURMESE CONTEXT .. 15 A. Mapping the Genesis of the Catholic Church in Myanmar ............. 15 1. The Spread of Catholicism among the Ethnic Minorities ........... 15 2. The Church amidst Diverse Cultures after the Missionary Era .. 17
  8. 8. viii 3. Churches among Pagodas, Temples, Mosques and Spirit Houses .................................................................................................... 19 B. Analyzing the Foreign Faces of the Church .................................... 20 1. The Cultural Faces of the Jesus-Community .............................. 20 2. The Political Portrait of the Christian Minority .......................... 21 3. Animist and Buddhist Images of the Church .............................. 23 C. Religious Encounters and Mission Challenges ............................... 26 1. Mission and Religious Pluralism................................................. 26 2. Specific Mission Challenges of the Church ................................ 29CHAPTER III IMAGES OF THE MISSIONARY CHURCH IN BIBLICAL, TRADITIONAL, MAGiSTERIAL AND EPISCOPAL STATEMENTS .................................................................................. 32 A. Biblical and Traditional Images of the Church ............................... 33 1. The Church in OT Typology and NT Imagery ........................... 33 2. Images of the Church in the Apostolic Writings ......................... 35 B. Images of the Church in the Magisterial Statements....................... 38 1. Pre-Vatican II Models of the Church .......................................... 38 2. The Ecclesiology of Vatican II.................................................... 39 C. Images of the Church in the Asian Episcopal Texts ....................... 41 1. The FABC Imagery of Asian Ecclesiology................................. 41 2. The CBCM Images of the Church............................................... 44 D. Trends in Contemporary Missiology in relation to Images of the Church ............................................................................................. 47 1. J.A.B. Jongeneel and J.M. van Engelen ...................................... 47
  9. 9. ix 2. David J. Bosch............................................................................. 47 3. Stephen B. Bevans and Roger P. Schroeder................................ 48 4. Edgar G. Javier ............................................................................ 49 5. Felix Wilfred ............................................................................... 50 6. Aloysius Pieris............................................................................. 50 7. Lode L. Wostyn ........................................................................... 51 8. Donal Dorr................................................................................... 52 9. Avery Dulles ............................................................................... 53 10. Arnulf Camps ............................................................................ 54CHAPTER IV THE BODHI TREE: IMAGE OF THE MISSIONARY CHURCH IN THE MYANMAR CONTEXT .................................................... 56 A. The Bodhi and the Cross ................................................................. 57 1. Hindu Tree of Immortality .......................................................... 57 2. Buddhist Tree of Enlightenment ................................................. 59 3. Nats’ Residence Tree .................................................................. 60 4. Christian Fig Tree of Knowledge and Salvation ......................... 61 5. The Bodhi and the Cross in Dialogue ......................................... 63 B. Christianity, Church and Mission in the Bodhi Tree Allegory ....... 66 1. Bodhi Tree: Image of the Church in Myanmar ........................... 66 2. Christian Life as the Bodhi Tree ................................................. 68 3. Models of the Church and of Mission ......................................... 71 a. Church as Basic Interfaith Community .................................. 71 b. Church as Community of Disciples in Co-Pilgrimage ........... 72
  10. 10. x c. Church as Sacrament of Universal Salvation ......................... 74 d. Church as Humble Servant ..................................................... 75 C. Mission Spirituality and Methodology ............................................ 76 1. Mission Spirituality under the Bodhi Tree .................................. 76 2. Mission Approaches: The Cross Encounters the Bodhi ............. 79CHAPTER V SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ............. 83 A. Summary ......................................................................................... 83 B. Findings ........................................................................................... 85 C. Recommendations ........................................................................... 88BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................... 91BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ....................................................................................... 103
  11. 11. CHAPTER I INTRODUCTIONA. Background of the Study Being brought up in a traditional Catholic family in a predominantly Buddhistsetting, the researcher examines the present images of the Catholic Church in order topropose a fitting image of the Church which will lessen its seeming alien face in thecontemporary Burmese1 society since, as Christopher O’Donnell says, artists, poets,preachers and theologians are challenged to present images of the Church suited foreach time and place.2 Reflecting on the Church as the center of its concern, the Second Vatican Council(1962-65) attempts to bring the Church relevant to the modern times by presenting thethree images of the Church: “society,” “people of God,” and “servant”3 from its Conciliardocuments. 1 In this study, “Burmese” also refers to the citizens and expatriates of Myanmar/Burma and to theofficial language of Myanmar/Burma. “Burman” or “Bama” refers to the dominant ethnic group. Theethnic group that makes up the majority will be identified as “Burmese/Bama Buddhists” and the otherminority ethnic groups as Burmese. 2 Christopher O’Donnell, Ecclesia: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Church (Minnesota: TheLiturgical Press, 1996), 208. [Emphasis mine]. 3 Lode Wostyn, Church Images and Pastoral Strategy (Manila: Communication Foundation forAsia, 1976), 5-30. Here Wostyn classifies the Vatican II images of the Church into three. First, there is thestatic, hierarchical and juridical picture of the “perfect society” (Lumen Gentium 20, 22, 23). Second, LG17 presents the Church as the people of God, the Body of Lord, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Third,Gaudium et Spes (3, 40, 43, 44, 92, 93) characterizes the Church as a humble servant, a community ofdialogue, being dynamic and eschatological.
  12. 12. 2 Since Vatican II, theologians have proposed different ecclesiological models, andimages. Images and metaphors play a powerful role in how we construct our communalself-image, which in turn shapes and are shaped by our experiences of the Church.4 Suchecclesial images and metaphors are informed by historical, social, cultural, as well aspolitical and economic conditions and agendas.5 Some images for the local Churches of Asia have been pictured by the Federationof Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) since its initiations. Such images touch therealities of Asia. A product of the "sign of the times" spirit of the Vatican II, the FABChas been taking seriously the multi-religious context of the milieu in its discernment ofwhat it means to be Church in Asia. Being pre-dominantly a Buddhist land, the political structures and socio-culturalethos of the people of Myanmar are fundamentally Buddhist.6 Thus, the presence ofpagodas, temples, mosques, spirit houses and Churches proclaim Myanmar as a multi-religious country. However, the image of the Church is so foreign to other religions.7 Ourchallenging problem is to present some fitting images of the Church which are relevant toour mission among peoples of different religious backgrounds. 4 “Images are language pictures which serve as tools of rhetoric to describe and convey what isalready known.” Barbra B. Zikmund, Discovering the Church (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1983), 37-38. 5 Emmanuel S. de Guzman, “Laity, Theology and Praxis” (Seminar, Quezon City, St. VincentSchool of Theology, Semester 2, SY 2006- 2007): 1-2 as of Power Point presentation and printed paper. 6 Samuel Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar: Issues, Interactions and Perspectives(Yangon: ATEM, 2005), 74-75. 7 Samuel Ngun Ling, “In the Midst of Golden Stupas: Revitalizing the Christian Presence inMyanmar,” RAYS MIT Journal of Theology 3 (February 2002): 113-115.
  13. 13. 3B. Statement of the Problem This research is at the outset an attempt to explore the present popular models ofthe Church, to search for contextual images for the Church and to propose that metaphorsfor a new way of being Church in Burma. More specially, its aim is doing a contextualecclesiology in relation to mission by using the local popular icon as the starting point. In the exploration of research problem, the following questions will beinvestigated. 1. What are the contemporary images of the Church in Myanmar amid multiethnic, multicultural, multireligious and socio-economic-political scenarios? 2. What are images of the Church in Bible, Magisterial statements, FABC, CBCM and Asian theologies and how are these images interdependent? 3. What are the appropriate images for the Church in Myanmar and how are these contextual images relevant to the mission of the local Church? The problem of the research is all about the proposed image for the Church as theBodhi tree which is drawn from the praxis, stories, lived religious experiences, and dailylife of the Burmese. Such metaphor, which exists side by side in Burmese society and inthe Burmese personality, will be able to, to some extent, eliminate the alien face of theChurch while it will help our mission of dialogue with other faiths improve.C. Significance of the Study The foreign face of the Church is a big problem in Burma not because Christianityis introduced from the outside but because, in Felix Wilfred’s words, the local Church
  14. 14. 4stays aloof from the mainstream of life of the people, their history, struggles and dreamsand they have failed to identify themselves with the people, even though in terms ofcharity many praiseworthy services have been rendered.8 Indeed, the Church appears soalien to the people of other faiths due to its failure to be in solidarity with them. This study hopes to contribute humbly and yet significantly to the following. Tothe science of theology, major in Missiology, this study aims at enriching students in theirtheological reflection about the missiological dimension of dialogue in a plural society.To the Universal Church and the other Christian Churches, this study intends to be amodest contribution in searching for image of the Church relevant to people of differentbeliefs in the multicultural, multiracial and multi-religious context. To the local Church in Myanmar, this study is an attempt to inspire further thiscommitment together with other Christian Churches and other faiths. Our contribution isto picture the Church imaginatively whose image is strongly connected to the local socio-cultural and religious symbol. By doing that in a radical yet contextual way, this studywould improve, to some extent, doing the mission of the local Church. To the researcher, through this study he will be enhanced and enable to be a livingpromoter of “missio inter gentes” in collaboration with Christians of different theologicalpersuasions and people of different faiths. Being a student of theology, this studysignificantly equips the researcher with various theological skills, biblical knowledge, 8 Felix Wilfred, “The FABC Orientations, Challenges and Impact” in For All the Peoples of Asia1, Gaudencio Rosales and C.G. Arevalo, eds. (Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 1992), xxiv.
  15. 15. 5religious attitudes, and academic qualifications particularly in the field of the mission ofthe Church. It also prepares him for his near future mission.D. Scope and Limitation of the Study The over-all of this research is about exploring the images of the Church andproposing an appropriate image of the Church. Explicitly, this study plans to search forsome predominant biblical, magisterial and theological images of the Church, and selectsthe common significant icons for the Church in Myanmar. It, then, aims to adopt theBodhi tree as image for a new way of being local Church in Myanmar. This study does not attempt to provide all the existing images of the Church. Butit tries to discover some predominant images of the Church, propose the Bodhi tree as theimage for the local Church together with models of the Church and of mission.E. Review of Literature and Related Studies In writing this thesis, the researcher consulted the following resources.Festschrift Committee, ed., Our Theological Journey: Writings in Honor of Dr. Anna May Say Pa. Yangon: Myanmar Institute of Theology, 2006. The seventeen essays in this book by Protestant theologians cover thecontemporary situation of the Christian churches. Their concerns regarding the Christianmission, relationship with other religions like Buddhism and nat worship are presented.The issue of internal Church problems and the external ones are highlighted. The concernof some essays are, “Nat Worship: A Theological Locus in Myanmar”, “A Brief Surveyof Mission in Myanmar from a Missiological Perspective” and the like. Ecumenically and
  16. 16. 6interreligiously, this book gives some lights on Christian and non-Christian relation. Thisbook was consulted in Chapters II, III and IV of this research.Evers, Georg. The Churches in Asia. Delhi: ISPCK, 2005. Evers’ study includes the genesis and growth of the Burmese Church. This bookpresents the historical account of the Catholic and Protestant travails in pursuing theirmission on Burmese soil under the successive rulers and amidst the majority Buddhists. Itunravels how much or how little the “little flock” has rooted itself in the context and lifeof the people. Ever diagnoses the specific issues, such as the problem of Church-Staterelations, ecumenical problems, Buddhist-Christian dialogue, the Christians’ struggles forindigenous and Christian identity. To highlight the crucial challenges that lie ahead and toidentify pastoral and missiological courses of action in the Myanmar context, this bookwas consulted in Chapters II and IV.Thoppil, James. Towards an Asian Ecclesiology: The Understanding of the Church in the Documents of the FABC (1970-2000). Shillong: Oriens Publications, 2005. The author summarizes the emerging contextual ecclesiology of the FABC. Whileexploring the understanding of the Church in the FABC statements, this book strikes abalanced note between the ecclesiologies developed by theologians and the ecclesiologyof Vatican II. Then, it also interprets the mission of the Church in Asia followed by theemerging Asian ecclesiological trends. Finally, a new way of being Church in Asia aswell as a new mode of carrying out its mission in Asia is presented. This book wasconsulted in the development of the Chapters III and IV of our research.
  17. 17. 7Ngun Ling, Samuel. Communicating Christ in Myanmar: Issues, Interactions and Perspectives. Yangon: ATEM, 2005. This book deals with contextualization. Its whole concern is to give a guidingtraffic light for the emerging Christian-Buddhist dialogue, representing a unique breakwith the past Christian missionaries’ ways of communicating Christ. It discusses both thecountry’s religious, cultural, social, economic, political scenarios and their impact onChristian-Buddhist relationship. Here different faces of Christ, some images of thechurch and diverse mission models to be found in Myanmar are included. Therefore, thisbook was used in the discussion of Chapters II, III and IV of this thesis.Driver, John. Images of the Church in Mission. Ontario: Herald Press, 1997. Driver, at first, presents the images of the Church in Christendom with the peoplein mission vis-à-vis the Church and mission. Next, he outlines the biblical images of theChurch in mission like pilgrimage images, new-order images, peoplehood images andimages of transformation. Images of the Church are explored from the biblical exegeticalpoint of view in relation to the mission of the early Christians. Finally, he talks about theChurch in mission of God as a community of transformation with a new image as a signof universal salvation. In fact, Driver studies twelve images for understanding of aChurch. In this thesis especially Chapters III and IV, this book was consulted toinvestigate the changing images of the Church in mission.Wostyn, Lode. Doing Ecclesiology: Church and Mission Today. Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 1990.
  18. 18. 8 Wostyn makes use of a See-Judge-Act approach in doing ecclesiology: Churchand mission today. In the See part, the author presents a thorough analysis of the Churchfrom different points of views and secular sciences. In the Discern part, he criticallydraws up a framework in which the historical Jesus and the growth of the Churchincluding Vatican I and II’s models of the Church. In the final Act part, he emphasizespastoral and missionary praxis. This study consulted this book in mapping out the biblicaland theological developments of the Church metaphors, the present images of the Churchin support of the proposed model of the Church in Chapter III.Dulles, Avery. Models of the Church. 2nd ed. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1988. Dulles outlines some of the historical and theological "images" of Church that haddeveloped in the past two thousand years of its history. In developing some evaluation ofprominent "models" in ecclesiology, he identifies six models of Church (as institution,mystical communion, sacrament, herald, servant, and community of disciples) andcritiques each. The models are evaluated on their basis in Scripture, their link to Catholictraditional teaching and their resonance with the modern world. The biblical perspectiveto missions is added to each model. Dulles’ critical assessment of the Church in all itsaspects was of great help in writing Chapters III and VI of this research.Minear, S. Paul. Images of the Church in the New Testament. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960. Minears classic work identifies and explicates the ninety-six images for theChurch found in the NT, attempting to uncover the true nature of the Church through theextensive gallery of images. The author considers images as being able to communicate
  19. 19. 9more than language alone. The minor images are investigated through to the people ofGod and the body of Christ. The final part assesses the interrelation of the imagesanalyzed and the strategic inferences to be drawn from their interweaving. Some of theseimages helped us explore the Church images in Chapter III of this thesis.F. Conceptual Framework The schematic presentation of the conceptual framework on page 10 shows themain dimensions of the research to be discussed. “Tree” signifies the common religioussymbol in the Myanmar context. It is a fig tree. In different religions, it has variousnames- “Bodhi,” “Bo,” “Banyan,” “Sacred Fig,” and many. For the Hindu, it symbolizes“immortality.” For the Buddhist, it stands for “wisdom.” For the Christian, it is the crossof “salvation” in Christ. For nat worshipper, it represents “the household” of spirits. The image of the Church is “the Bodhi tree” in Myanmar. Tree is a symbol for thegrowth and fruitfulness of Christianity. The roots of the tree are essential for its existenceand survival but it grows up and bears fruits by being interconnected with outside theworld. “The Bodhi and the Cross dialogue” refers to the interrelations of Christianity toother faiths. In this sense, mission is dialogue. The missionary is like “a treasure hunter,”crossing the boundaries in search of “the seeds of the Word” in other cultures. “Aspirituality of dialogue” is compatible with missio inter gentes method. Image of the missionary Church as the Bo tree is reignocentric. In the Burmesecontext, the Bodhi tree is the symbol of “one big network of relationships.” Anytheological trend under the Bodhi tree suggests to be eco-theological- eco-christology,
  20. 20. 10eco-ecclesiology, eco-eschatology, eco-soteriology, eco-anthropology, eco-culture, andeco-missiology, to mention a few. Things are seen clearer trough images. Image contains idea. Image dictatespraxis. The image of the missionary Church will not only eliminate the foreign mask ofthe Christianity but also prepare the Missio Dei at home in Myanmar. Schematic Presentation of Conceptual FrameworkG. Definition of Terms Bodhi: “The Bodhi tree” or “the Bo tree” (ficus religiosa) under which GautamaBuddha got “the Enlightenment” is sometimes identified as “Banyan” or “Banian” (ficusbenghalensis). Its short form ‘Bo’ means supreme knowledge or awakening in the old
  21. 21. 11Indian languages.9 The tree is sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism. It has various names.10It is called Bodhi Nyaung Bin or Nyaung Bin in Burmese. It is the most sacred tree for theTheravada Buddhists, nat worshippers and many sects of animists in Myanmar.11 Church comes from the Greek kyriake, ‘belonging to the Lord’. The Hebrewword qahal (assembly, gathering) is sometimes translated ecclesia and synagogue inGreek, ecclesia in Latin,12 and Church in English. The Bible offers no a single definitionof the Church or provides no doctrinal basis for understanding it.13 In the NT, ekklesiasignifies a gathering group of believers and this translated as “Church.” The term‘Church’ (ekklesia) appears about more than one hundred times in the NT. Image is a mental picture in which something is like or looks like and a word orphrase that describes something imaginatively.14 Image perceives a reality. It may serveas tools of rhetoric. It advances our self-understanding. Each image manifests its validity 9 Sal J. Foderaro, ed. Lexicon Universal Encyclopedia (New York: Lexicon Publications, 1993),s.v. “Banyan” by Hugh M. Raup, 72. 10 Keith Crim, ed. The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions (New York: HarperSanFrancisco,1989), s.v. “Bodhi” by P. L. Basu, 110-111. Various scholars present the bodhi tree, ficus religiosa, as thebanyan tree, ficus benghalensis, under which the Buddha/s got enlightenment. Therefore, in this researchthese various names will be used synonymously. 11 John Zar Ring Thang (a.k.a. Maung John), “Church as a Banyan Tree in the Context of Burma”A paper submitted during the seminar of Laity: Theology and Praxis on March 16, 2007 at St. VincentSchool of Theology, Quezon City, Philippines. This paper is the very original work of the researcher. 12 Edward Schillebeeckx, Church: The Human Story of God, trans. John Bowden (London: SCM,1990), 146; O’Donnell, Ecclesia, 92. 13 John Driver, Images of the Church in Mission (Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1997), 9. 14 Sally Wehmeier et al, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 6th ed. (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2000), 646.
  22. 22. 12and exerts its power only within communal imagination. The image is the meaning.15Images can inflame the imagination and provide us identities.16 Mission etymologically (Latin missio) means “a sending forth with a specialmessage to bring or with a special task to perform.”17 The Pre-Vatican II notions of thepurposes of mission are threefold: first, the conversion of pagans, and the extension of theChurch; secondly, the transplantation of the church; and thirdly, mission is the growth ofthe Mystical Body of Christ; the internal dynamism of mission is the Spirit.18 Vatican II’saim of mission is the evangelization of the non-Christians and plantatio ecclesiaeaccording to God’s will (GS 7). For the FABC, it is the triple dialogue. Myanmar only refers to “the Burmese ethnic group” and Burma refers to “all theBurmese ethnic groups.”19 On June 18, 1989 the present junta (SPDC) promoted thename “Myanmar” instead of “Burma” as a conventional name for their state. The changewas recognized by, the ASEAN, the UN, and by countries such as France and Japan, butnot by the US and the UK. The EU uses Myanmar/Burma. For Burmese minorities,Myanmar is an illegitimate name created by an illegitimate military government.However, the two words mean the same thing and one is derived from the other. Due to a 15 Paul S. Minear, Images of the Church in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960),17, 22-24. 16 Donald E. Messer, Contemporary Images of Christian Ministry (Nashville: Abingdon Press,1989), 25. 17 Edger G. Javier, “Theology of Mission” (Lecture, Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia, QuezonCity, Semester 2, SY 2006-2007): 1. 18 Ibid, 7. 19 Gustaaf Houtman, Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and theNational League for Democracy (Tokyo: ILCAA, 1999), 377.
  23. 23. 13number of other reasons, the researcher used “Burma” and “Myanmar” interchangeablyand inclusively in this research while not excluding either the former or the latter.H. Methodology This study makes use of the historical method of research which goes throughbooks, Church documents, handbooks, journals, periodicals, lectures and unpublishedmaterials from the libraries of Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia (ICLA) and St.Vincent School of Theology (SVST) and Maryhill School of Theology (MST).I. Organization of the Study The structure of this thesis is based on an allegory of the Bodhi Tree: its seed fromthe Christ is the praxis of the Christ, the tree itself is the reality of the Church and theprocess of the seed becoming the tree is the mission of God. More specifically, the treeallegory produces the division of this research into five unequal yet interrelated sectionscorresponding to the seed, the roots, the trunk and the branches and the fruits. Chapter I is like the seed which gives birth to the tree by taking roots becauseafter the table of content, it introduces the motivation, problem and significance of thestudy, and presents its scope and limitation from the selected survey of related literaturepresented with historical research method and documentary analysis method. Chapter II, like the roots which drink from the water veins beneath the earth,discusses briefly the Burmese context in terms of the present socio-cultural-political-economic realities, and the genesis and contemporary situation of the local Church.
  24. 24. 14 Chapter III, like the trunk of the tree which connects the roots and supports thebranches, sketches the images of the Church from the Bible, Church teaching, AsianEpiscopal texts, and it also highlights various theological reflections of the Church withdifferent images and models. Chapter IV, like the branches contends with the contextual inspirational andinsightful interpretations of the various texts since it proposes a paradigm for contextualmodels of the Church by using the popular image relevant to the people of differentreligious persuasions. Chapter V, among the evergreen heart-shaped leaves, bear fruits by which the treeis known, in the sense it recaps the research and recommends for further study andimplementations followed by the selected bibliography of the research and thebibliographical sketch of the researcher. This thesis presented the background of the study, statement of the problem,significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, review of literature andrelated studies, conceptual framework, definition of terms, methodology, andorganization of the thesis. The next chapter discussed images of the Church in theBurmese context.
  25. 25. CHAPTER II IMAGES OF THE CHURCH IN THE BURMESE CONTEXTIntroduction Myanmar is a multi-religious country. It is home to primal religious beliefs andmajor world religions such as nat worship, animism, Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism,Islam and Christianity. Chinese temples are built in major cities. A Jewish synagogue anda Silk temple are found in Yangon.20 However, Christianity is still so foreign.21 “Yes to Christ and no to the Church” mindset exists. So, our challenging problemis to identify images of the Church and to present a fitting image which is relevant for themission. This chapter explores images of the Church in our context of ethnic diversity,cultural multiplicity, religious plurality and socioeconomic-political upheavals.A. Mapping the Genesis of the Catholic Church in Myanmar 1. The Spread of Catholicism among the Ethnic Minorities The hidden presence of Christianity was found as early as 1278 in Pagan, anancient Burmese kingdom.22 Catholic missionaries- Portuguese, French and Italian- first 20 Wilhelm Klein et al, Insight Guides, Burma/Myanmar (Singapore: APA Publications, 2003),141,273. 21 Ngun Ling, “In the Midst of Golden Stupas,”113-115. 22 The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar, The Official Catholic Directory of Myanmar2006 (Yangon: CBCM, 2006) 7. (When followed by the year 2005, 2006, 2007…it refers to the year ofpublications. For example, CBCM 2006).
  26. 26. 16entered into Burma long before the Protestants, in 1554,23 but organized missionaryactivity began only in 1722 through the Banabite missionaries. Missionaries could notconvert the lowland Buddhists and they shifted their mission to the hilly indigenouspeople.24 Soon after, Catholicism took its strong root among the ethnic minorities. Geographically, the location of the ethnic Christians comprises rugged hills, steepgorges and high mountains, which have made them isolated socio-culturally,economically and even politically from the rest of the lowland. Demographically, thecountry consists of about one hundred and thirty five national races with eight majornational ethnic groups. The religious affiliation of the fifty two million people in 2002 isBuddhist 89.3%, Christian 5.6%, Muslim 3.8%, Hindu 0.5%, and animist 0.2%.25 Multiethnic reality is one significant identity. The country encounters with “themost perplexing ethnic problems.”26 Yet, the Church survived for years. During thenineteenth century three Anglo-Burmese wars were waged (1824-26, 1852-54, and 1885-86).27 Christian mission got special privileges during the British regime. During thePacific War (1942-1945), the Catholics lost their personnel and properties. The British 23 Samuel Hugh Moffett, A History of Christianity in Asia, Vol. II: 1500-1900 (Maryknoll, NewYork: Orbis Books, 2005), 330-331. 24 Georg Evers, The Churches in Asia (Delhi: ISPCK, 2005), 404-405. 25 Union of Myanmar, Myanmar: Facts and Figures 2002 (Yangon: Ministry of Information,2002), 4-5, quoted in Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 11; Thomas C. Fox, Pentecost inAsia: A New Way of Being Church (Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 2003), 217, writes that in 2003,Buddhists are 89.1%, Christians 4.9%, Muslims 3.8%, and others 2.2% out of 44.5 million people. 26 Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 53-54, 59. 27 Scott W. Sunquist et al, eds., A Dictionary of Asian Christianity (Grand Rapids, Michigan:Eerdmans, 2001), s.v. “Myanmar-Christian Development Work” by Marip Ja Naw, 575.
  27. 27. 17reentered and resumed British colonial rule in August 1945 and Burma got independencefrom the British rule in 1948.28 The Church still got some privileges until U Nu, thePrime Minister, attempted to make Buddhism the state religion in 1961.29 Christianity in Myanmar was and still is viewed, by the postcolonial regime,merely as a religion of ethnic minority groups that embody Western political andreligious-cultural ideals. Christianity is a threat spiritually and politically to the regimebecause being a Christian is identified with being a Western.30 Foreignness ofChristianity is most problematic in the mission. 2. The Church amidst Diverse Cultures after the Missionary Era “The Burman people” were formed into a nation by the union of Mongoloidtribes.31 Burmese civilization with its architecture and other art forms is largely anoutgrowth of Indian influences. But the Burmese shunned such Indian institutions as thecaste system. The numerous temples have led Burma to become widely known as “theLand of Golden Pagodas.”32 Historically, Burmese culture was mainly composed ofnative, (Chinese) Mongolian and Indian elements. 28 Evers, The Churches in Asia, 105. 29 San No Thuan, “Overcoming Oppression of Ethnic Minority Christians,” CTC Bulletin 20, no. 2(December 2004): 115. 30 Ngun Ling, “In the Midst of Golden Stupas,”113-115. 31 Arthur P. Phayre, History of Burma including Burma Proper, Pegu, Taungu, Tenasserim, andArakan (London: Trübner & Company, 1883; Reprint Bangkok: Orchid Press, 1998), 1-2. This book, thefirst formal history of Burma by a Westerner, records that Mongoloid tribes formed “Burma” but theearliest monarchs were Indians. 32 Norma H. Dickey, ed., Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia 5 (New York: Funk andWagnalls, 1983), s.v. “Burma,” by J.M.S, 50-51.
  28. 28. 18 The Church grew up rapidly among the animistic minority tribes under the Britishcolony (1886-1848). However, the government closed or confiscated all Catholic schools,hospitals and social institutions in 1965.33 All the foreign missionaries were expelledfrom the country in 1966,34 leaving only seventy seven native Catholic priests to care forsixteen thousand Catholics. The country then became a closed society for years. The Church was cut off by this long isolation from important events in theuniversal church, such as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the FABC (until1982).35 Despite of it, the local Church is “gradually gaining momentum in its work ofevangelization and its activities are more on the pastoral and social basis without gettinginvolved much in secular education systems.”36 Today, the Church just feels at home in the hierarchical culture of Burma. Thus,David Morland observes that the Catholic Church in Burma is very hierarchical andclerical. The renewal and change both of structure and attitudes wrought by Vatican IIhave only partially touched the local Church. Bishops and priests are too weak andvulnerable as individuals for effective witness.37 33 Evers, The Churches in Asia, 411. 34 Louise Pirouet, Christianity Worldwide AD 1800 Onwards 4 (Quezon City: New DayPublishers, 1990), 84. 35 Evers, Churches in Asia, 410. 36 CBCM 2004: 15; CBCM 2006: 15; CBCM 2007:16. 37 David Morland, “Suu Kyi’s Call to Catholics,” The Tablets 3 (October 1998): 1276-1278.
  29. 29. 19 3. Churches among Pagodas, Temples, Mosques and Spirit Houses Myanmar is home to cosmic and metacosmic religions. But Christianity was andstill is an alien religion to Myanmar people, Pau Khan En writes, due to three significantfactors: (a) identification of Christian mission with colonialism by Burmese people; (b)negative attitude of missionaries towards the religion and culture of the people; and (c)conversion en masse of tribal groups to Christianity.38 Besides these, there are moresignificant factors for the appearance of the foreign images of the local Church. Christianity is also considered a foreign religion because of (1) the alien baptismalnames and the Western religious culture of the faithful; (2) baroque style of buildings likereligious convents and seminaries; (3) foreign languages in liturgy, and the ghettomentality and the foreign aid of the Church; and (4) insufficient inculturation. Due to fifty years of ethnic conflict which has caused protracted political, socialand humanitarian crises, the Church is in danger of “burmanization,” in which minoritycultures, histories, religions, and political aspirations have to be eliminated for a“national” identity.39 Burmanization is nationalization which the tribal Christians areafraid of. The problem of Burma is not essentially “nationalism” but “tribalism.” The military’s slogan of “one nation (Myanmar), one language (Burmese) and onereligion (Buddhism)” is against the Christian axioms of “one Lord (Christ), one baptism(Sacrament), one faith (Christianity),” “no salvation outside the Church,” and “I can do 38 Simon Pau Khan En, “The Quest for Authentic Myanmar Contextual Theology,” RAYS MITJourney of Theology 2 (2001): 40. 39 “ “They Came and Destroyed Our Village Again" The Plight of Internally Displaced Persons inKaren State,” Human Rights Watch 17, no. 4(C) (June 2005): 16-17.
  30. 30. 20everything in Christ’s name.” Axioms of both parties are signs of obstacles for dialogue,reconciliation and healing, “critical collaboration” and peaceful co-existence. The statement of the 1st National Pastoral Assembly shows the urgent needs of thelocal Church for fruitful evangelization to renew the missionary spirit, strongcommitment, participation, shared-responsibility, new strategy to sow the seeds of faith,effective efforts at inculturation, dialogue and many more.40 It calls for “self-renewal.”B. Analyzing the Foreign Faces of the Church 1. The Cultural Faces of the Jesus-Community In Burma, religious identity is always identified with national identity. Buddhismis strongly linked with national identity for Bama, Shan, and Rakhine tribes. Christianityis the national identify of the majority ethnic tribes. Ngun Ling says that the mainproblem of Christianity for the Burman Buddhists is not necessarily the Christ ofChristianity but the Western image of Christianity. Christianity brought with it toMyanmar the alien and different images of culture, civilization, and socio-politicalstructures.41 For Ngun Ling, the challenge is basically christological. Colonization made Christianity a culturally alien and socio-politically undesirableelement for the Burmese Buddhist nationalists.42 Indeed, the junta wants to homogenize 40 CBCM, 50th Jubilee of the Establishment of the Local Church & 1st National PastoralAssembly: Report of Study Days for Bishops, Priests, Religious & Laity. Yangon, June 1-12, 2005, s.v.“History of the Catholic Church in Myanmar” by Augustine Ko, 5. Henceforth, reference shall be “1stPastoral Assembly”. 41 Ngun Ling Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 33. 42 G.E. Harvey, British Rule in Burma, 1824-1942 (London: Faber & Faber, 1946), 25-26, quotedin Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 14.
  31. 31. 21other cultures while using Buddhism as the foundation of and the cement of the societyfor their political interests. While Buddhists associate the culture of Christians with foreign way of life theChristians themselves feel that Buddhist culture is anti-Christian. Christians areconsidered as deserters and traitors of the Burmese culture, local religion and ideology.Cacayan also notices that a number of Church project interventions in Burma show littlesensitivity to the cultures of the people.43 Hierarchy just fits for the Burmese culture. 2. The Political Portrait of the Christian Minority The Burmese kings had tolerated the religions of minorities but the post-colonialregime did not. While Christians are found in significant numbers among some of the hilltribe groups in rebellion against the central government, Christians in the main centersenjoy considerable freedom, and valued if limited contracts with outside world.44 The Church carries its foreign images as colonizer and conqueror. Philippe deBritto, a Portuguese mercenary conquered Syriam (Thanhlyn) and ruled supreme.45During his thirteen year reign, natives were converted, and worse Buddhist monumentsand relics were destroyed. In 1613, de Britto was killed.46 Since then, in the mind of therulers the Church was associated with colonization. 43 Bert Cacayan, “Burma: Rich Country, Poor People- Impressions and Recommendations,” EastAsian Pastoral Review 38, no. 4 (2001): 314. 44 Louise Pirouet, Christianity, Ibid. 45 CBCM 2006: 7; see also Bigandet, An Outline of the History of the Catholic Burmese Mission,6-7. 46 Klein et al, Insight Guides, Burma/Myanmar, 41.
  32. 32. 22 The present regime with anti-colonial sentiments attempts to Buddhistize allcitizens. Churches, crosses, buildings and cemeteries are confiscated and destroyed andsometimes replaced by the Buddhist pagodas. There is no freedom of press. Militarypower remains unchallenged. Georg Evers says that Burmese Catholics adopt the policy:“To suffer in silence for the best of the Church”47 under “the culture of fear.”48 Buddhism permeates Burmese society and culture. Social life is regulated by aBuddhist (lunar) calendar of activities, and art, architecture, and most literature have beeninspired by Buddhism. The nationalists looked on the Christians as Western in outlookand pro-British in political sympathy. The junta becomes suspicious of the Christians tobe conducting rebellious gatherings against them. Ngun Ling decries that the nationalistic Buddhists cannot overlook theimperialistic image of missionary Christianity and they think of Christianity as animported Western religion being associated with the colonial schemes and movements ofthe past.49 Historically, Christians suffer due to the missionaries’ mistakes and theirslowness to adopt the local culture, and their failure to dialogue with the country. The Roman Catholic hierarchy had not opposed the moves to make BuddhismBurma’s national religion in 1961 unlike the leaders of Protestant Churches and of the 47 Evers, The Churches in Asia, 412. 48 Cacayan, “Burma: Rich Country, Poor People,” 311. 49 Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 14.
  33. 33. 23Burma Christian Council.50 The hierarchy did not also involve in the 1988 student-ledrevolution51 and the September 2007 uprising.52 The noninvolvement of the hierarchydoes not seem to lessen the foreign image of the Church life in Myanmar. If silence is the best policy for the Church in Myanmar because of fear, theChurch leaders of today are challenged to be voice for the voiceless when it comes to theissues of social justice, protection of human dignity, human rights promotion, democraticequality, environmental care and many. Some ethnic Christians claim to be freedomfighters who are branded by the regime as rebellious groups. 3. Animist and Buddhist Images of the Church The Burmese Christians have to see “the image of the Church in the light of theother religions”53 especially with the eye-glasses of Bama Buddhists and nat worshipper.Nat worship and Buddhism serve as the very basic of folk culture and civilizations ofmajority Buddhists. For minority especially the Christians primal belief serves as thespiritual and cultural ground from which the basic ideas of tribal life principles,worldviews, concepts and customs have been developed.54 50 John C. England et al, eds., Asian Christian Theologies: A Research Guide to Authors,Movements, Sources 2 (Delhi: ISPCK, 2003), s.v. “Contextual Theology in Burma/Myanmar” by John C.England et al, 50. 51 Morland, “Suu Kyi’s call to Catholics,”1276. 52 CBCM, “Statement Regarding the Stand of the Catholic Church in the Face of the PresentSituation that the Country is Facing,” CBCM Statement (26 September 2007): no. 3. 53 James H. Kroeger and Peter C. Phan, The Future of the Asian Churches: The Asian Synod &Ecclesia in Asia (Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 2002), 17. [Original Italics]. 54 Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 60.
  34. 34. 24 The Bama Buddhists and Burman nat worshippers perceive the Church irrelevantand very often have the anti-Christian sentiments because Christianity does not toleratethem. Buddhism exists side by side nat worship but indifferent to other faiths. Christianity is considered as a good neighbor but notably as an antagonisticoutsider. Christian Churches have done many remarkable developmental activities,charitable works and wonderful services for the country. However, the Church will mostprobably be kept distant from the Buddhists, the animists and reality of the country due toits weakness to implement triple dialogue with the culture (inculturation), with the poor(liberation), and religions (interreligious dialogue). There is a set of complex images of the local Church. There are some models ofthe Church. We will tackle three of the most popular images of the Roman CatholicChurch in Myanmar. The first model presents the Church as “a big Ship”55 in which the pope is thecaptain who is helped by various seamen for the safety of the people. Amidst the heavystorms, weaves, great danger and various hardships the pontiff is leading the faithful onship to the set destiny. It is “a pilgrimage to heaven”. The outsiders are the enemies of thechurch. Satan together with his followers is battling the faithful. “Mama Mary” embracesand comforts the injured pope. Finally, the church overcomes the outside enemies. 55 This image of the Church as a big ship (oabFm}uD;) is popularized by Charles Maung Bo,SDB, Archdiocese of Yangon. Being a Salesian in Burma, Bo used to mention this theme frequently on thefeast days of St. Don Bosco and Mary Help of Christians. For instance, in his many speeches and homilieson Feast of Don Bosco, Jan 31 and Feast of Our Lady of Mary Help of Christian, May 24 in LashioDiocese, Pathein Diocese, Mandalay Archdiocese and Yangon Archdiocese particularly recent decade.
  35. 35. 25 Another concept of the Church in Burma is presented as “a train.”56 Train for theBurma is one of the main means of transportation. This undeveloped country has to trustsuch transportation for many purposes- travel, economics, pilgrimage and many more.Most people, particularly the middle class, would take train to go to Yangon fromMandalay and other cities. Travel by train is often more economical and comfortable thantravel by automobile. Thus, for some Catholics, the Church is like the train. The third popular image of the Church is “a big bus” which carries the passengersto the target. It facilitates the need of the people. It transports the goods from one town toanother place. The bus can reach to the places where the train cannot. For the hilly peoplethis model of the Church is more significant than the locomotive model of the Churchand that of the ship. Still there are some more contemporary images of the Burmese Church. Thefollowing images of the Church are excerpts from some Burmese Catholic academics inthe Philippines. Theologically, the Church is like “a little flock, people of God, body ofChrist, and the Temple.” Geometrically, the Church is like “a triangle, and sometimes asquare.” Humanly speaking, the Church is like “an old man, a caring mother, a goodteacher, an understanding leader and parents.” It is “a field, a tree, a garden, and a publicpark.” Sociologically, the Church is “a home, a family,” a boarding house, a bridge, aladder, and the rock.”57 Thus, people have variety of self images as Church. 56 There have been some hymns, poems, religious articles in which the Church is symbolized as atrain (7xm;). 57 Personal interviews and conversations with Martha Aye Tin, Paul Ta San, Benedict Than Lwin,Stella War War Khaine, Lucas Suan Za Lian, Dominic Jo Du and others, Quezon City: Institute forConsecrated Life in Asia; Radio Varitas Asia; S.F.X. Convent, August- December 2007.
  36. 36. 26 The Church is, an interviewee says, like “a herald” which speaks of the truth.Another interviewee says: “the Church is like an old man who cannot adjust himself withthe modern development. But I want to see the Church like the boy Jesus who grows andbecomes strong, filled with wisdom in front of God and people” (Luke 2:40). Onereligious Sister says: “the Church is like the military regime. Negative aspects of theBurmese culture are also seen in the Church.58 In general, many of the interviewees’comments on the Church have been critical of the present situation of the local Church.C. Religious Encounters and Mission Challenges 1. Mission and Religious Pluralism In the mind of the nationalistic Bama Buddhists, “the imperialistic image ofmissionary Christianity” and “an imported Western religion” are associated with thecolonial schemes and movements of the past.59 The Bama Buddhist ecclesiology of thechurch is “a one-way ecclesiology” branded with the alien images. A big number ofpolitics-minded Buddhists perceive Christ as a foreigner, Church as a college ofcolonizers and mission as the weapon of the Western conquerors. On the other hand, a good number of well-educated non-Christians toleratereligious pluralism though they acknowledge that Christianity was largely introduced tothe Burmese soil thru the merchants, missionaries and militaries and Buddhism is not the 58 Ibid. 59 Nugn Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 14.
  37. 37. 27native religion either. They accept Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and nativereligions as equally good as well as defective.60 Pau Khan En observes: The gospel and Nat worship have not yet encountered each other because Nat Worship was regarded as anti-Christian by the Christians, and to uproot this primal religion therefore had become the sine qua non of planting the churches in the country. As Nat worship is the substance of the culture, and the culture is the form and expression of Nat Worship among the Primal Society, Nat Worship and the culture are two inseparable factors in Myanmar.61 Nat worship and Buddhism serve as the very basic of folk culture andcivilizations of majority Buddhists. For minority especially the Christians primal beliefserves as the spiritual and cultural ground from which the basic ideas of tribal lifeprinciples, worldviews, concepts and customs have been developed.62 The BamaBuddhists and Burman nat worshippers often have anti-Christian sentiments becauseChristianity does not tolerate Buddhism and animism. The predominantly Western-oriented Church life especially in theology, liturgy,ecclesiology and missiology came not only through missionaries’ teachings but also 60 Al-Haj U Aye Lwin, “Interfaith Dialogue: An Islamic Perspective,” Engagement: JudsonResearch Center Bulletin 2 (August 2004): 23-33; Thet Lwin, “Interfaith Dialogue: A Hindu Perspective,”Engagement: Judson Research Center Bulletin 2 (August 2004): 34-37; Daw Khin Nweh Han Kyi,“Interfaith Dialogue: A Buddhist Perspective,” Engagement: Judson Research Center Bulletin 2 (August2004): 38-51. 61 Pau Khan En, “Nat Worship: A Theological Locus in Myanmar,” in Our Theological Journey,30. 62 Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 60.
  38. 38. 28through their colonial rulers, administrators, and civil educators. So the Church took itsshape in the image of those who established it and administered its people.63 For many native theologians and Christians, “a Burmese theology which isincarnational and indigenous, confessing, transformative and people-centered”64 appearsthe greatest challenge. Many Christian leaders now become aware of the Western-oriented theological trends unfit for the Burmese context to address religious pluralism,cultural diversity, oppression, civil wars, injustice, and poverty. Religious pluralism, and also interreligious dialogue, is a re-awakening challengefor the mission of the local Church. The Symposium on Interfaith Dialogue held inYangon in 2004 shows that nat worshippers, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christianshave a positive view on other religions.65 However, among the Catholics as it is said“there is no shared mission in the Church.” Interreligious contacts and ecumenicalcollaboration are at infancy stage in Myanmar.66 “Shared mission” among the Catholicsis a challenge. Cacayan lists some challenging “realities facing the Catholic Church in Burma.”Catholic minority Church is identified with a foreign and rebellious group. Catholics arediscriminated in various fields. Ecumenically, Catholic-Protestant relationship is often in 63 Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 15; Ngun Ling, “Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally: A Dialogue Approach to Mission and Theology in 21st Century Myanmar” in Our TheologicalJourney, 36. 64 England et al, “Contextual Theology in Burma/Myanmar,” 53. 65 Aye Lwin, “Interfaith Dialogue: An Islamic Perspective,” 23-33; Thet Lwin, “InterfaithDialogue: A Hindu Perspective,” 34-37; Khin Nweh Han Kyi, “Interfaith Dialogue: A BuddhistPerspective,” 38-51. 66 Evers, The Churches in Asia, 413-414.
  39. 39. 29a “fighting mood.” The patriarchal and hierarchical Church structures exclude laity,women and the religious in decision making.67 2. Specific Mission Challenges of the Church Ngun Ling highlights, at least, five major challenges of the present Myanmarcontext such as: (1) challenge of ethnicity, religion and contextual theology; (2) challengeof religious co-existence: revitalizing the Christian presence; (3) challenge of violence,poverty and peacemaking; (4) challenge of globalization and doing theology; and (5)challenge of theological education.68 Mission challenge of the Christian Churchesaccording to Ngun Ling is mainly contextual theological problem especially theBuddhist-Christian dialogue. But for Pau Khan En, another Baptist theologian: The fundamental challenge of Christian mission for the churches in Myanmar today is how to inculturate the Christian gospel to remove this alienation of Christianity in the country. In other words, the two centuries with little success, and the challenging mission of the Christians in Myanmar today is to Burmanise Christianity so that the gospel may be seen as authentic and relevant for the people.69 God is no longer depicted in one particular religion alone. Christ is discovered in all religions. The current theological challenge, then, is not to Christianize the people, but rather to Myanmarize the gospel.70 67 Cacayan, “Burma: Rich Country, Poor People,” 312-313. 68 Ngun Ling, Communicating Christ in Myanmar, 53-129. 69 Pau Khan En, “Nat Worship,” 19. 70 Fabella Virginia and R. S. Sugirtharajah, eds., Dictionary of Third World Theologies(Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2000), s.v. “Myanmar Theology” by Simon Pau Khan En, 151.
  40. 40. 30 Pau Khan En uses the word: “inculturate the Christian gospel” or “BurmaniseChristianity” to describe the contemporary challenging mission of the Christians. He usesanother word: “Myanmarize the gospel” to highlights the current theological challenge.He believes that inculturation will remove the foreignness of Christianity. Mark Tin Win, a Catholic theologian observes inculturation as one bigmissiological problem in Myanmar. He remarks: Because of what the country had gone through under the Christian colonizers and because of inadequate inculturation, or almost no inculturation, some misunderstandings and misconceptions grew up. And naturally, as the result, some were under the impression that the Christians are strangers in Myanmar. The people, especially in the upper Burma, put the foreigners and the religion (Christianity) together and call the Christian as Kala and their religion Kala Barthar. Inculturation, therefore, is that movement which aims at making Christianity permanently be felt at home in Myanmar by making it a peoples religion and a way of life which can cancel all the misunderstandings or hostility and gain more appreciation and acceptance.71 Tin Win is very critical of the kala (Western) images of Christianity in Myanmar.For him, “the importance of inculturation is for the inter-religious dialogue.”72 He seemsto suggest that incluturation and dialogue will eliminate the Western faces of the Church. 1st National Pastoral Assembly of CBCM, for the first time, clearly underscoressome noteworthy internal and external challenges of the local Church. Some significantmission challenges to be mentioned are interreligious dialogue, globalization, 71 Mark Tin Win, “Inculturation today in the Myanmar Context,” (Lecture, CRCM, Yangon, 21-31July 2006): 3. [Italics in original]. 72 Ibid., 4. [Original italics].
  41. 41. 31incluturation, education, social justice, healthcare, option for the poor, prophetic voice,reconciliation,73 promotion of social development, migration, and so on.Conclusion We have analyzed, examined and argued that different images of the Church andvarious images for the Church are found, formed and emerged from the Church-Staterelations, Church’s involvement in the socio-economic and political scenarios, the mutualattitudes between the Christians and non-believers, the encounter of the Church to thelocal cultures and from our experiences as Christians as well as disciples. We explored contemporary images of the Church not just for the sake ofexploring our self-identity and nature but also for the benefit of our relation towardoutside world. In the next chapter, we will trace back the biblical, magisterial, andtheological images of the Church in relation to mission. 73 1st Pastoral Assembly s.v. “History of the Catholic Church in Myanmar” by A. Ko, 4-5; Ibid.,s.v. “The Challenges of the Church in Myanmar” by Eikhlein, 9- 13; “Eucharistic Spirituality: A RenewedEucharistic People towards A New Way of Being Church in Myanmar” by J. Soe Tint, 20; and Ibid., s.v.“First National Assembly and Jubilee of the Local Church Myanmar, 2005” by C. Bertille, 29.
  42. 42. CHAPTER III IMAGES OF THE CHURCH IN BIBLICAL, TRADITIONAL, MAGISTERIAL AND EPISCOPAL STATEMENTSIntroduction Metaphors are excellent tools for pedagogy. To use the old saying, metaphors“paint a thousand words.” Hence, we understand why metaphors are important. And inAsia, metaphors speak well to the people. In theology, metaphors are also used.According to McFague: Images “feed” concepts; concepts “discipline” images. Images without concepts are blind ; concepts without images are sterile there is no suggestion of hierarchy among metaphors, models, and concepts ; concepts are not higher, better, or more necessary than images, or vice versa. The task of conceptual thought is to generalize to criticize images, to raise questions of their meaning and truth in explicit ways.74 In correlating images of the Church and the images of mission, Senior hasthis to say: Images of church and images of mission are closely linked and have profound mutual influence. The foundations of this correlation can be found in the Scriptures. Three domain images of church in the NT are correlated with images of mission in a variety of biblical traditions: the church as a community of disciples sent 74 Sallie McFague, Metaphorical Theology (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982), 26; George Lakoffand Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980) quoted by Messer,Contemporary Images of Christian Ministry, 21.
  43. 43. 33 into the world: as a community of visible witness: and as a community of healing and reconciliation.75 Mission and Church are interlinked and interdependent in essence. Theirappearances have similarities. Images of mission, as it is believed, cannot be properlyunderstood without a thorough examination of images of the Church. Paradigm shifts inmission models and Church models will be briefly expounded in this chapter. In otherwords, the correlation of images of Church and images mission will be explored.A. Biblical and Traditional Images of the Church 1. The Church in OT Typology and NT Imagery The Bible gives us the plural images of the Church. Le Guillou writes that “theword of God helps us to understand the Church through a multiplicity of concepts andimages.”76 Indeed, images explore the realities of the Church. Such realities, in return,explain, reflect, and portray “what the Church is” through metaphors, images, andmodels. Paul S. Minear lists some ninety-six images of the Church in the NT.77 Theseninety six images of the Church have connection with images of mission. 75 Donald Senior, “Correlating Images of Church and Images of Mission in the New Testament,”Missiology: An International Review 23, no. 1 (January 1995): 3. [Original italics]. Senior notes, “the termused here is “image”, understood as something short of a full-blown, systematic ecclesiology or missiology.Image evokes those fundamental lead ideas, symbols, and metaphors that capture the driving force of one’sunderstanding and experience.” Ibid., 3-4. 76 Karl Rahner, ed., Encyclopedia of Theology: A Concise Sacramentum Mundi (Wellwood: Burnsand Oates, 1993), s.v. “Church: History of Ecclesiology,” by Marie-Joseph le Guillou, 210. 77 Some of Minear’s images seem to reflect the “big Church” concept: “The People of God,” “TheNew Creation,” “The Body of Christ.” However, the minor images of the Church are also presented: “ALetter from Christ,” “The Boat,” “Unleavened Bread,” “One Loaf,” “The Table of the Lord,” “Branches ofthe Vine,” “Vineyard,” “The Fig Tree,” “The Olive Tree,” “God’s Planting,” as well as others. Minear,Images of the Church in the New Testament, 28-65.
  44. 44. 34 John Driver writes that the Bible relies on images and narrative to disclose themeaning of the Church. Biblical symbolic language of images introduces richness andvariety.78 T. H. Sanks claims that “there are many images and symbols that refer to thecommunity in the NT. Some images are the familiar ones, e.g., Body of Christ, People ofGod, Temple of the Spirit, the New Creation, and the Community of Saints.”79 Indeed, there is no articulated ecclesiology in the Bible though it offers “variousimages for the Church.”80 The most important “images” of the NT Church are: “People ofGod, Body of Christ, and Temple of the Holy Spirit”81 though the earliest communitieswere preoccupied with “with christology, not with ecclesiology.”82 Brown explains that “the beginnings of Christianity and the diversities in themissionary movements brought the local Church into being.”83 Brown remarks that therewere many varied models of Church already in the first decades of the Christian era. Hisinvestigations find no evidence of any consistent or uniform ecclesiology, but rather thedifferent NT Churches with distinct and different emphases.84 78 Wilbert R. Shenk, foreword to Images of the Church in Mission, by John Driver (Scottdale,Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1997), 9. 79 T. H. Sanks, Salt, Leaven and Light: The Community Called Church (New York: Crossroad,1992), 44. 80 Gerald O’Collins and Edward G. Farrugia, A Concise Dictionary of Theology, rev. and exp. ed.(Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 2001), 71. 81 Richard P. McBrien, Catholicism, rev. ed. (New York: Harper-Collins, 1994), 597-602, 604. 82 Sanks, Salt, Leaven and Light, 52. 83 R. E. Brown, Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine (New York: Paulist Press, 1985), 129-134. 84 Brown, The Churches the Apostles left Behind, 146.
  45. 45. 35 Senior likewise asserts that “mission is at the heart of the NT but there is nouniform notion of mission in the Bible. Mission is exercised in function of a people.”85Senior argues that “the biblical images or models of Church, mission and dominanttheology/christology are interconnected because… these three images are not mutuallyexclusive.”86 Brown and Senior’s writings suggest that mission is understood through theChurch. The Church, in return, is perceived through mission. Christianity is primarily a way of life. The Church continues to be missionarytoday.87 Biblically speaking, images of the Church and images of mission are correlated.“We do not so much see images as see through images”88 and we see the missionaryChurch through images. These images of the missionary Church are neither institutionalnor dogmatic. Rather, they are anthropological, communitarian, and movement-centeredor evangelical images. 2. Images of the Church in the Apostolic Writings Patristic writings provide us models, images and figures of the Church. “For theFathers,” Guillou remarks, “the whole of Scripture spoke of Christ and the Church: theysaw it through the imagery of the Bible and the typological interpretation of the Old 85 Senior, “Correlating Images of Church and Images of Mission,” 3-5. 86 Ibid., 5-7. 87 Knox, Theology for Teacher, 184. 88 Stephen Bevans, “Seeing Mission Through Images,” Missiology: An International Review 19,no. 1 (January 1991): 45. [ Original italics].
  46. 46. 36Testament.”89 In Ecclesia, O’Donnell includes several of the common patristic images ofthe Church.90 The images of the Church, for Ambrose, are “the moon, the sea, mystical vine,mystical flock, boat, people of God, the reign of Christ, temple, body and spouse ofChrist.”91 In Augustine’s mind, the Church is “Mother, a virgin, nest, queen, love, newEve, mother hen, widow, dove, God’s house, the moon, a ship, and the ark of Noah.”92Bernard’s image of church is “Spouse.”93 The Church, for Ephrem, is “the bride andmother, a spouse, people, the ark, the Body, Eucharist, vineyard, temple, rock, way,voyage, a re-creation and paradise, the house of God, a tower, eschatological kingdom.”94 The Church, for the Shepherd of Hermas, is “an elderly woman” who becomes “ayoung and beautiful woman.” The Church is “a spouse, God’s house, God’s vine, God’speople, eschatological kingdom, and a tower built on the rock.” 95 For Hilary of Poitiers,“it is God’s tent, the ark, a ship, the calm, light, mother, Jerusalem, and God’s house.”96For Origen, they are “bride, spouse, city of God, people, believers, and Jerusalem.”97 89 Le Guillou, “Church: History of Ecclesiology,” 206. 90 O’Donnell, Ecclesia, 5, 33, 51, 157, 194, 197, 338. 91 Ibid., 5. 92 Ibid., 33. 93 Ibid., 51. 94 Ibid., 157. 95 Ibid., 194. 96 Ibid., 197. 97 Ibid.,338.
  47. 47. 37 Images of the Church reflect the self-understanding of the Christian community.Sinks remarks that this self-understanding was frequently influenced by world events: thefall of Jerusalem, expulsion from the synagogues, Constantine’s conversion, and the fallof Rome.98 Some images of the church are flexible, contextual and culture-bound. The image of the Church in the first three centuries was determined by theopposition between a hostile State and a docile Church.99 In this era, the Church was seenas “the local communities, or regional Churches, or missionary Churches”100 and to someextent “a spiritual movement with minimal hierarchical, liturgical and canonicalstructures.”101 In the following centuries, however, the image was determined by the harmonybetween an established church and the Christian empire.102 Henceforth, she became thehierarchical church.103 Mission now became “internal and rural.”104 The missional imageof the Church has shifted to the “institutional model”105 of the Church. 98 Sanks, Salt, Leaven and Light, 60, 61, 63-64. 99 Küng, The Church, 6-7. 100 Joseph Komonchak, Mary Collins and Dermot A. Lane, eds., The New Dictionary of Theology(Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1987), s.v. “Church” by Edmund Hill, 190-191. 101 Edgar G. Javier, “General Mission History” (Lecture, Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia,Quezon City, 19 February - 4 March 2008): 21. 102 Küng, The Church, 6-7. 103 Hill, “Church”, 194. 104 Javier, “General Mission History,” 21. 105 Stephen B. Bevans and Roger P. Schroeder, Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission forToday (Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 2005), 37,130,165. This work will henceforth be abbreviated“Bevans-Schroeder.”
  48. 48. 38B. Images of the Church in the Magisterial Statements 1. Pre-Vatican II Models of the Church “The metaphor of the Church,” until Vatican I era, was “a plank of salvation for ashipwrecked humanity.”106 The Church was compared to “the boat of Peter” whichcarried the faithful to the farther of heaven, provided they remained on board.107 And it is“the eikon (image) of the Holy Trinity, the spotless virgin and bride of the spotless lamb”and “a perfect society.”108 The Church is a prefect society in the prominent sociological image, i.e., self-sufficient and independent; unequal, i.e., organized hierarchically, and supernatural, byreason of its efficient and final cause.109 Being identified with the Kingdom, it is superiorto any other societies. Thus, Wostyn explains: The three key words to characterize the pre-Vatican II ecclesiology are legalism, clericalism, and triumphalism. The church is seen as a perfect society, supernatural institution, entrusted to the hierarchy, in possession of the gifts of salvation. The understanding of mission follows this church vision. Mission is planting of this perfect institution in territory where she was not yet present. This task is accomplished by specialists, the missionaries. Pagans have to enter the institution in order to obtain salvation for their souls.110 106 Eugene Hillman, Many Paths: A Catholic Approach to Religious Pluralism (Maryknoll, NewYork: Orbis Books, 1989), 43. 107 Avery Dulles, Models of the Church, 2nd ed. (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1988), 41. 108 Wostyn, Church: Pilgrim Community of Disciples, viii, 12. See also Driver, Images of theChurch in Mission, 14. 109 Le Guillou, “Church: History of Ecclesiology,” 215. 110 Lode L. Wostyn, Doing Ecclesiology: Church and Mission Today (Quezon City: ClaretianPublications, 1990), 122.
  49. 49. 39 David Bosch states that this understanding of mission and the Church has its rootsin Cyprian’s famous dictum, extra ecclesiam nullas salus (“there is no salvation outsidethe [Catholic] church”).111 In this era, mission means saving souls and expanding of thechurch. Thus, the Church is imaged as “sphere of salvation on earth.”112 The Fathers of Vatican I saw the danger of a metaphorical expression- too vagueand imprecise- in the idea of the Body of Christ.113 However, the Pauline image of theMystical Body of Christ was popularized to soften the hierarchical imagery,institutionalized by the Council of Trent.114 2. The Ecclesiology of Vatican II The Vatican II’s focus was ecclesiology because it was the Council on theaggiornamento or renewal of the Church.115 Its two pillars are Lumen Gentium andGaudium et Spes.116 LG treats of the inner nature of the Church. GS treats the Church inrelation to the modern world. Ad Gentes states that “the whole Church is missionary”(AG 2). LG and GS without AG seem incomplete to inquire the images of the missionary 111 Bosch, Transforming Mission, 218. 112 Bruno Forte, The Church: Icon of the Trinity- An Introduction to Ecclesiology (Makati: St. PaulPublications, 1990), 127. 113 Le Guillou, “Church: History of Ecclesiology,” 212-213. 114 Patrick J. Brennan, Re-imaging, 7. 115 Sanks, Salt, Leaven and Light, 122. 116 Forte, The Church: Icon of the Trinity, 24.
  50. 50. 40Church. Thus, “the new ecclesiology worked out by Vatican II in AG opens new horizonsfor missiology today. Mission is central to the Church, since Christ is central to it.”117 The Council, which reaffirms the nature and image of the Church as “missionaryChurch” (AG 2), “restored the biblical imagery through which the mystery of the Churchwas first revealed: body, spouse, temple, city, vineyard, house, flock; all theses wordsexpress collective realities whose gradual realization is part of a great design.”118 VaticanII has abundant images to explain the mystery of the missionary Church. Lumen Gentium, chap. 2, proposed an image of the Church as the People of God.It is a strongly community-oriented image. The notion of community is basic to anyunderstanding of the Church.119 One single image of greatest importance in the revelationof the mystery is the Church as the body of Christ (LG 7).120 As with the Body of Christimage, the People of God image is community-oriented, focusing on the interrelationshipand mutual helpfulness of the members.121 Vatican shows that the Church has amultifaceted reality, mystery and nature. Vatican II, in trying to come to grips with the mystery of the Church in thiscentury, referred to the various images drawn from pastoral life, agriculture, building 117 René Latourelle and Rino Fisichella, eds., Dictionary of Fundamental Theology (New York:Crossroad, 1995), s.v. “Mission” by Gianfranco Coffele, 714. 118 Le Guillou, “Church: History of Ecclesiology,” 210. 119 Knox, Theology for Teachers, 171. 120 Pedro Rodriguez, “Theological Method for Ecclesiology” in The Gift of the Church: ATextbook on Ecclesiology in Honor of Patrick Granfield, O.S.B., Peter C. Phan, ed. (Collegeville,Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 141-143. 121 Knox, Theology for Teachers, 171.
  51. 51. 41construction, and even from family and married life…in the wirings of the biblicalauthors’, listing the sheepfold, the flock, the tract of land, the vine, the building, thetemple, the bride (LG 6).122 Driver remarks that “the images which the Church uses forits self-understanding will largely determine what the Church will actually become.”123 “The Trinitarian origin of the Church has been revealed in various names, images,metaphors, figures.”124 The Church’s self-understanding of her nature, her master Jesusand her role in the mission have been intertwined with each other and illumine eachother. Regardless of abundance of images, the Church is firmly portrayed as a pilgrim inmission toward the Kingdom (LG 7, 8, 41; DV 7).C. Images of the Church in the Asian Episcopal Texts 1. The FABC Imagery of Asian Ecclesiology The FABC and its documents, being rooted in and drawing inspiration from theVatican II, attempt to live the vision of Vatican II and other Church documentscontextually. The idea of the Church as a universal sacrament of salvation, as the newpeople of God, a communion, Church’s collegiality, and the like played an important rolein the development of the FABC’s theological vision.125 122 Charles Hill, Mystery of Life: A Theology of Church (Melbourne: Collins Dove, 1990), 67. 123 Driver, Images of the Church in Mission, 16. 124 Rodriguez, “Theological Method for Ecclesiology,” 141-143. 125 James Thoppil, Towards an Asian Ecclesiology: The Understanding of the Church in theDocuments of the FABC (1970-2000) (Shillong, India: Oriens Publications, 2005), 84-85.
  52. 52. 42 The Asian Churches defined the central and most urgent mission duty incumbentupon them: “the primary focus of the task of evangelization is the building up of a trulylocal Church.”126 One prominent quality of the changing faces in Asia is its moment ofreawakening, characterized by “a new consciousness” and “a renewed self-image”.127 The FABC images of the Church are Kingdom-centered or reignocentric. In Asia,the Church shifts its focus from building up the local Church to building up the Reign.The Reign of God is the very reason for the being of the Church. “The Church exists inand for the Kingdom.”128 The challenge is to make the Kingdom a reality.129 The veryexistence of the Church in Asia is oriented towards God’s Kingdom.130 The Church hasattempted to be the image of the coming of the Reign in Asia. 126 FABC, Evangelization in Modern-Day Asia: The First Plenary Assembly of the Federation ofAsian Bishops’ Conferences (Hong Kong: FABC Secretariat, 1974), nos. 9-10. Henceforth, “FABC-1”. 127 See Edwin E. Mercado, “Emerging Images of the Asian Church,” Philippiniana Sacra 26, no.76 (January – April 1991): 77-94. Reprinted as “Emerging Images of the Asian Church,” Theology Digest39, no. 2 (Summer 1992): 143-146. We will quote Mercado’s work both form Philippiniana Sacra andTheology Digest because the writer presents the same theme somehow differently. 128 Forth Bishops’ Institute for Interreligious Affairs on the Theology of Dialogue in For All thePeoples of Asia 1, Gaudencio Rosales and Catalino G. Arevalo, eds. (Quezon City: Claretian Publications,1997), 125. Henceforth, reference shall be “FAPA-1.” 129 FABC V 1.7, in FAPA 1: 230. 130 Jeffery G.L. Chang, “Ordained Ministry in the Mission and Ministry of the Church in Asia inthe Light of the Documents of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, 1970-2005” ( Doctoraldissertation, Taipei: Fu Jen Catholic University, 2007): 79.
  53. 53. 43 “The FABC’s reignocentric approach to the task of Christian mission”131 givesreignocentric Church images. Yun-Ka Tan delves into the FABC official papers to reveala uniquely Asian ecclesiology. This new way of being church is rooted in six predominant propositions: (1) the Asian church is called to be a “communion of communities” that is (2) shaped by, and responds to the immense diversity and pluralism of Asia, (3) under guided by a commitment and service to life, (4) inspired by an overarching vision of harmony, (5) oriented a threefold dialogue with Asian cultures, religions and the poor, and (6) seeking to build the Kingdom of God in Asia.132 Mercado highlights the various images of the Asian Church as contained in theFABC documents, reflecting its pastoral practices and concerns: Church as evangelizer,disciple, sacrament, and community.133 He explains: “In the face of poverty, oppressionand pain, the Asian Church is called to evangelization, discipleship, servanthood andcommunity. In its quest to be an agent of true liberation it becomes a sign and instrumentof God’s salvific presence in the world.”134 The Spirit urges the Asian bishops to renewtheir self-understanding and to project a new image.135 131 Jonathan Yun-Ka Tan, “A New Way of Being Church in Asia: The Federation of AsianBishops’ Conferences (FABC) at the Service of Life in Pluralistic Asia,” Missiology: International Review23, no. 1 (January 2005): 87. 132 Ibid., 73. [Original italics]. 133 Mercado, “Emerging Images of the Asian Church,” 77-94. Reprinted as “Emerging Images ofthe Asian Church,” Theology Digest 39, no. 2 (Summer 1992): 143-146. Henceforth, references shall be as“Mercado-Theology Digest” and “Mercado- Philippiniana Sacra.” 134 Mercado-Theology Digest, 143. [Original italics]. 135 Mercado- Philippiniana Sacra, 81 and footnote 18.

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