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Roncalli and Wojtyła's paths in Asia

· Looking towards the canonizations on 27 April ·

Asia is the cradle of all major religions; Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Islam, Shintoism and Sikhism. God sent his Prophets and revealed holy books upon them. It is the dwelling place of two third of the world population. 

The land of Asia manifests the plan of salvation of the entire world. God revealed himself through the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) and finally through his only son Jesus Christ — so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

In our Asian situation the Encyclical of Pope John XXIII Pacem in Terris is of prime importance. It can influence immensely for the struggles of Asian people on how to addressed many challenges we are confronted with as well the challenge of dialogue among people of different religions and especially between Muslims and Christians. It also poses many challenges to us as well. Pacem in Terris has set before men and women of good will an immense task for all, especially for us living in Asia. For example, in number 163 of the Encyclical, we read: “Hence among the very serious obligations incumbent upon men of high principles, we must include the task of establishing new relationships in human society, under the mastery and guidance of truth, justice, charity and freedom — relations between individual citizens, between citizens and their respective states, between states, and finally between individuals, families, intermediate associations and states on the one hand, and the world community on the other. There is surely no one who will not consider this a most exalted task, for it is one which is able to bring about true peace in accordance with the divinely established order”.

Pope John Paul II has left a great inspiration for the people of Asia. He was a great religious leader. He was for the freedom of religion. He was for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. He was reached out to meet and welcome people of different religions both in the Vatican and to which ever country he went. He gave boost to the Christians in Asia in his Encyclical Letters. In particular his Encyclical Ecclesia in Asia, offers us ongoing inspiration and great courage to be proud to be Asian Christians. It serves as a remarkable guide for preaching, proclaiming Christ to the people around us and thus for the expansion of the Church.

James Channan




St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 14, 2019