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Bishops discuss Catholic church's woes
AFP - Sunday, August 16 Send IM Story Print
MANILA (AFP) - – Mixed marriages, dwindling entrants to the
priesthood and violence against its members are among problems
facing the Catholic church in Asia, bishops said at a conference here
Inter-religious marriages have helped the number of Catholics to fall
even further, Philippine Archbishop Orlando Quevedo told a meeting
of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) being held
Manila this weekend.
Catholics who marry outside the church in countries where they were
part of a minority often converted to their spouse's religion, said
Quevedo, secretary-general of the FABC.
Filipino Arcbishop Orlando Quevedo,
secretary-general of the Federation of Asian Many bishops also said there was difficulty attracting young men to
Bishops Conferences (FABC), gestures as he
speaks during a press briefing at the Pope
the priesthood because of poverty and the secularisation of society.
Pius XII Catholic Centre in Manila, flanked by
Pakistani Arcbishop Lowrence Saldanha (L). Poverty meant that many parents found it "a big sacrifice to give up
Mixed marriages, dwindling entrants to the their young son" to a seminary, Pakistani Archbishop John Saldanha
priesthood and violence against its members
are among problems facing the Catholic said.
church in Asia.
"More girls are joining the convents now than the boys entering the
seminaries," he added.
Slideshow: Faces of Asia PH
"The number of vocations is going down. The Christian families have
fewer children and the reason is secularisation of the society," Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India said.
Hong Kong Bishop John Tong said "materialistic tendencies" were also an obstacle, but remarked that there
had been an increase in the territory's seminarians, to 15 this year from 10 last year.
Sources who asked not to be identified also said that the bishops discussed the issue of Asian governments
who did not do enough to protect Christian minorities under attack in their countries.
Quevedo said the FABC was preparing a document that "will mention endemic corruption in countries in
Asia, not just the Philippines but corruption in most of the governments of Asia."
The FABC represents dioceses from across Asia, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia,
Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri
Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.