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The Plenary Assembly is the supreme body of the FABC; all committees and officers are answerable to it. The Plenary Assembly alone shall have the right to make or to ratify constitutional modifications and to approve major policies or structural changes. The Plenary Assembly meets in ordinary session every four years. Membership of the Plenary Assembly comprise: all presidents of member conferences or their officially designated episcopal alternates; bishop-delegates elected by member conferences.





Message of the FABC 10th Plenary Assembly Released


The Message of FABC 10th Plenary Assembly is now available. The message reflects the proceeding and reflections of the gathering of Asian bishops which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the foundation of FABC. 281212


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Vietnam Diocese Grateful for "Miracle" of Hosting 10th FABC Plenary Assembly


Hosting the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) was a wish come true for officials of Xuan Loc diocese.


Cardinal John-Baptist Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh broached the idea of hosting the gathering of Church leaders from around Asia four years ago when he inaugurated the buildings in Phase I of the construction plan for the Xuan Loc Pastoral Centre complex east of Ho Chi Minh City. 271212





Japan Archbishop Lists National and Global Threats to Life


Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga of Osaka highlighted natural and human-made threats to life in his report to the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) 10th Plenary Assembly as president of the Catholic bishops' Conference of Japan.

The report presented by Archbishop Takami Mitsuaki of Nagasaki to the FABC's Dec. 13 plenary session cited the destruction wrought by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami on Japanese communities and compounding problems the Fukushima Nuclear Plant has inflicted on his people. 171212





South Korean Bishop Apologizes for War Crimes in Vietnam


Korean bishop attending the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) here has apologized for war atrocities committed by South Korean troops during the conflict that Americans refer to as the Vietnam War and Vietnamese call the American War.

In a private intervention at the assembly on Dec. 13, Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju, South Korea, apologized to the Vietnamese people for the 5,000 civilians whom Korean troops summarily killed between 1968 and 1974. According to various sources, the South Korean forces also killed more than 40,000 Vietnamese in military actions. 171212



Cardinal Tong Urges Prayers for China-Vatican Relations


Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong has urged fellow delegates at the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) to support and pray for the successful resolution of strained relations between the Holy See and the government of mainland China through dialogue.


"May I ask for your prayers to bring us help to resolve the difficulties encountered in China-Vatican relations?" Cardinal Tong asked during his homily at a Mass on Dec. 13, the third full day of the assembly. 161212



Document:  Homily of Vietnam’s Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man


Cardinal John-Baptist Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City has shared with fellow bishops of Asia his perspective and approach to accompanying Vietnam’s people as they work to rebuild their lives and reunify their nation after war ended with the victory of communist forces in 1975.


Cardinal Man offered his reflections during a Mass that he led on Dec. 12, the second full day of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) at Xuan Loc Pastoral Centre, part of a large compound of the Catholic diocese of Xuan Loc in Dong Nai Province, east of Ho Chi Minh City. 161212




FABC Bishops Identify Challenges for "New Evangelization"


Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), opened the second full day of the 10th FABC Plenary Assembly on Dec. 12 with a summary of the working paper written by his predecessor Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, Philippines.


The 30-page text, whose title is based on the assembly theme, "FABC at Forty Years - Responding to the Challenges of Asia: A New Evangelization," outlines the federation's history and highlights the theme of every previous plenary assembly, the FABC's highest governing body. 161212





Small Churches of Asia Offer Many Lessons at FABC Plenary Assembly



The second day of the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) was especially interesting and informative for bishops attending such an event for the first time, because it gave them a chance to learn about other Churches of Asia.


On Dec. 12, as participants offered reactions to the assembly’s working paper, “Responding to the Challenges of Asia: The New Evangelization,” they described the local Churches in which they are serving.


Some new-comers to this kind of FABC event belong to bishops’ conferences that are full members of the federation. Other first-timers are from small local Churches without an episcopal conference, so they represent places that are FABC associate members. 141212




Dreams of FABC Pioneers Offer Lessons for Today’s Asian Church Leaders



Delegates and guests attending the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) have heard how the dreams of a few Asian bishops combined with the openness of Pope Paul VI to empower Catholic bishops of Asia to work together during the past four decades.

The participants arrived on Dec. 10 for their gathering, which was held on a large compound of the Catholic diocese of Xuan Loc, east of Ho Chi Minh City. On Dec. 11, the first full day of the assembly marking the FABC’s 40th anniversary, they heard about the federation’s origins and witnessed the Vietnam Church announcing that it aims to be a strong voice for the FABC in the future. 141212




FABC Welcomes Timor Leste as Its Newest Member



The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), which opened its 10th Plenary Assembly on Dec. 11 in Xuan Loc, Vietnam, has formally welcomed the bishops’ conference of Timor Leste as the newest full member of the federation.

Timor Leste previously had only two dioceses – Dili, which was established in 1940, and Baucau, in 1996. However, three dioceses were needed to form a bishops’ conference, so Timor Leste could join the FABC only as an associate member.  However, when Maliana diocese was established in 2010, the door was opened for this country of about one million people to form its own bishops’ conference this year and thereby qualify as a full member of the FABC.

As the youngest member of the FABC, Timor Leste plans to follow and adopt the FABC’s pastoral ideas and methodology in responding to the different pastoral realities that the bishops’ conference now faces. This new FABC member intends to integrate FABC teachings into its upcoming pastoral plan since the lessons offered by the FABC truly reflect Asian realities and the signs of the time.


The plenary assembly, the FABC’s highest governing body, is normally convened once every four years. This year, the federation is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the its foundation in 1972. Under the theme “FABC at Forty Years: Responding to the Challenges of Asia,“ this year’s plenary is being held Dec. 10-16 at Xuan Loc Pastoral Centre of the Catholic diocese of Xuan Loc in Dong Nai Province, east of Ho Chi Minh City. 131212



Cardinal Rosales Delivers Pope's Message to FABC Plenary Assembly



Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Papal legate to the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), conveyed the wish of Pope Benedict XVI for Asian bishops to renew their zeal in showing love for Christ, the Gospel and Church, and to boost their efforts to witness to the faith through dialogue.


Cardinal Rosales shared the pope's message with bishops of Asia in an address at the close of a Mass on Dec. 11 which officially opened the assembly in Xuan Loc Pastoral Centre, Dong Nai Province, northeast of Ho Chi Minh City.


Cardinal Rosales explained, "The Holy Father expressed in his letter to this legate his desire for the brothers in the episcopacy to generously continue in the commitment to 'the Bishops' duty to manifest, by their renewed strength and zeal, the love of Christ, the Church and the Gospel. Burning with the virtue of faith, they should foster human culture and diligently pursue dialogue among the peoples.'"


The cardinal said he would communicate to the pope his observations of "dedicated efforts of the Asian bishops, with the assistance of the FABC, in keeping alive the dialogues with peoples, religions and long subsisting cultures in the large Asian continent in relation to the evangelization in Jesus, initiated years ago."


Seventy-one cardinals, archbishops and bishops from 22 countries were among 100 delegates at the Mass. They included prelates from long-time member conferences who are attending an FABC plenary assembly for the first time, as well as bishops from new FABC member conferences. One bishop is from the bishops' conference in Timor Leste, which was launched just this year and is the FABC's newest member. Previously, the youngest member had been the Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan, which officially joined the FABC in 2008.


Cardinal Rosales, 80-year-old archbishop emeritus of Manila, was active in the FABC’s early years particularly regarding the role of Asian bishops in organizing the International Congress on Mission held in 1979 in Manila.


The cardinal cited the themes of the nine previous FABC plenary assemblies among highlights of the federation's 40 years of collaboration after the Holy See approved its statutes on Nov. 16, 1972. The discussions and activities of the current assembly are focused on the theme “FABC at Forty Years: Responding to the Challenges of Asia.”


Cardinal Rosales also conveyed to the assembly’s participants "Pope Benedict XVI's wish of expressing his charity to all the Bishops of Asia, and through you, beloved bishops, the same love is extended to priests and the beloved faithful of Asia."


The pope, he said, is "happy to be informed of your efforts and the initiatives to disseminate the Gospel," and "assures all that he accompanies you in spirit, and encourages all with his prayers.


Local Catholics joined the opening Eucharist and other welcome ceremonies in which government officials and representatives of other faiths in the country also took part.131212



FABC’s 10th Plenary Assembly Opens in Vietnam




The 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) opened on Dec. 11 at Xuan Loc Pastoral Centre, part of a large compound of the Catholic diocese of Xuan Loc in Dong Nai Province, east of Ho Chi Minh City.


The gathering, which marks the federation’s 40th anniversary, is focused on the theme "FABC at Forty Years: Responding to the Challenges of Asia." Among 71 participants consisting of cardinals, archbishops and bishops from more than 20 Asian countries in attendance is Pope Benedict XVI’s special envoy to the six-day event, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the archbishop emeritus of Manila. Other participants include executive secretaries of various offices of FABC, fraternal delegates and guests from Oceania, Europe and Latin America.


Cardinal Rosales presided at a concelebrated Mass that launched the event. His homily evoked the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd who leaves 99 of his flock to go out and find one lost sheep. Since Catholicism is so limited in Asia, where only about three percent of its 3.8 billion people are Catholics, the cardinal said the Church in Asia has a kind of reverse challenge, leaving the one in its fold as it tries to reach out to the other 99. At the end of the Mass, he also read the Holy Father's special message to the assembly.


The official opening ceremony that took place after the Eucharistic celebration showcased the presence of government officials from Vietnam's religious affairs bureau, as well as leaders of Buddhist, Muslim and Protestant communities in Xuan Loc diocese and Dong Nai province.


The special representative of the Vietnamese government delivered a message in which he stressed the appreciation of Vietnam's people for the helpful role Catholics and the Catholic Church have played in the cultural, political and moral growth of the local community and the country at large. To complete the gesture, the government official presented three man-sized flower arrangements as gifts to Cardinal Rosales and India’s Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, the FABC secretary general and Bishop Dominic, the local bishop of Xuan Loc diocese.


The two cardinals then thanked the Vietnamese government for the hospitality and warm reception extended to all the participants from the time they arrived in Ho Chi Minh City to the moment they reached the pastoral center in Xuan Loc. On behalf of the local Church in Vietnam, they also expressed an assurance that Vietnamese Catholics will continue to be the good citizens they are. With continuing dialogue and cooperation, the Catholic Church in Vietnam also hopes to contribute to a better future for the country. 131212


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The  10th FABC Plenary Assembly to be held in Vietnam from November 19-24 is postponed to December 10-16, 2012. The postponement  is due to the absence of some participating Asian bishops who will be attending the consistory for six new cardinals including Archbishop Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines and Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal of Trivandrum, India. The venue of the Plenary Assembly will be at Xan Loc, Vietnam. 301012


Cardinal Rosales appointed Papal Envoy to FABC 10th Plenary Assembly


Cardinal Rosales

Any important event in the Church of Asia , the Holy Father manifests his concern and solidarity by sending a special Papal Envoy. This is a special year for FABC because it completed 40 years of its foundation. Thus there will be the X Plenary Assembly of FABC this year at Xuan Loc Diocese pastoral centre at the invitation of the Vietnamese Government. To this special function, the Holy Father has appointed as Papal Special Envoy Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales who is the Archbishop Emeritus of Manila and a former member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication.  He is also one of the editors of the book "For All the Peoples of Asia" Volume 1, which contains all important documents of the FABC from 1970 to 1991. 101712


(photo courtesy of



FABC and the Challenge of New Evangelization in Asia

Hong Kong’s Cardinal John Tong Hon, one of three prelates appointed by the pope to preside at the Oct. 7-28 synod on evangelization in Rome, has called on Catholics in Asia to renew their faith according to the model of early Church communities in the time of the apostles.


Cardinal Tong made the appeal in his message "FABC and the Challenge of New Evangelization in Asia," which he issued to the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Rome's approval of the FABC’s statutes. 101012



Synod Photos



Cardinal Tong

Cardinal Tong as one of three president delegates to the XIII General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops being held Oct. 7-28 in Rome. (Photo credit: Annie Lam/Holy Spirit Study Center, Hong Kong Diocese)



FABC turns 40 Years


It is 40 years since the Bishops of Asia set up the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), the apex body of the Catholic Church in Asia.  The event will be celebrated during the 10th plenary assembly of the leaders and delegates of the various Bishops’ Conferences in the continent when they meet in Vietnam, November 19-25, 2012. About 100 participants consisting of Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, theologians and other church leaders are expected to attend the event to reflect on opportunities and pastoral challenges that society offers the Church in Asia in the 21st century.  FABC is the umbrella organization of 19-member Bishops' Conferences spread across the continent stretching from Kazakhstan in Central Asia to East Timor (Timor Leste) in Southeast Asia. 250912




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FABC at 40 years:

Responding to

the Challenges of Asia

Vietnam, Dec. 10-16, 2012



Final Document



Living the Eucharist in Asia

Manila August 10-16, 2009




Theme: The Asian Family towards a Culture of Intergral Life (final document)

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FABC Papers are designed to bring the thinking of Asian experts to a wider audience and to develop critical analysis of the problems facing the Church in Asia. The opinions, however, do not necessarily represent the official policies of FABC or its member Episcopal Conferences. FABC Papers on-line is a special service of the Union of Catholic Asia News

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