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Asians’ Synod message to bishops: Don’t stop guiding us!

Pope Francis carries papers as he arrives along with two other prelates for the second to the last session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican on Saturday, Oct. 24. (Photo: Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

VATICAN City, Rome, Oct. 24, 2015 – What do Asian Catholics hope for from the Synod on the Family? Proper guidance on moral issues.

“Sometimes, I want the Church to be not really moralistic but to properly guide Filipino families in terms of moral values because the Filipinos, they listen to the priests,” said Olivia Adriano, a Filipino migrant who has been based in Australia for more than 30 years.

According to her, Filipino parents have a tendency to spoil their kids with material gifts while failing to pass on Christian moral values to them.

Spoiled Pinoy kids?

“[Filipino parents nowadays] tend to spoil kids because they only have one child so they tend to give a lot of material things without actually giving the right moral things,” Adriano explained.

Gregorius Magnus Peter Wangsadinata, an 18-year old Indonesian studying in Germany, stressed the importance of the Church's moral and spiritual guidance of the faithful. (Photo: Nirva Delacruz)

According to Adriano, who was in Rome recently to visit relatives, this much-needed pastoral guidance does not call for “drastic sermons” but instead more input from church leaders, especially priests, on family values and parenting.

Gregorius Magnus Peter Wangsadinata, an 18-year old Indonesian studying in Germany, also pointed to the Church as the guardian of Catholic teachings and traditions, saying he hopes the Church continues “to give guidance to all of us through the Mass, through the preachings and teachings of the Church.”

The first semester mechanical engineering student who hails from Jakarta, added: “Family is a very important issue to us (Indonesians) and so I guess, they (the Church) should emphasize how do we keep our families united.”

According to Wangsadinata, while issues like same sex marriage plague the Church in the West, Jakartans in particular struggle with more married couples separating.

A ‘push’ in the right direction

For Jeanette Andres, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who manages a bed and breakfast place in Rome, the Synod should enable the Church to give families “a push” in the right direction.

According to her, while ultimately it is up to the individual believer whether he will follow Catholic teachings or not, the Church could also be more proactive by addressing the Filipino faithful’s ignorance of Catholic doctrine.

“Probably, the Church could give the people a bit more of a push too…[when it comes to] ignorance, the biggest [challenge],” Andres explained.

“The Church is there to educate the people..not just to proclaim the Gospel but [so that] what you hear and read you are able to live out,” she added, noting the importance of formation and catechesis.

The ongoing Synod of Bishops is scheduled to conclude with a Closing Mass at St. Peter’s Square on Oct. 25. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCP News)


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