Asian Church with Truly Asian Face: ‘This is our Moment’ – Interview Fr Vimal Tirimanna
Frankly speaking, I don’t think that the Asian Church is consciously attempting to reduce her Asianness. However, the reasons for the lack of enthusiasm for being Asian can be traced to the pontificates of Papa Wojtila and Papa Ratzinger that perceived relativism as the major issue the Church has to respond to. During that time, most Asian bishops were trying to follow the Roman agenda, for obvious reasons. That’s what Rome wanted. The freedom, which Paul VI gave, what Vatican II gave, was not there. Pope Paul VI allowed and encouraged the openness and freedom to be Asian, to be theologizing in the Asian way. But in the later decades, we see it being taken away little by little, little by little.
With the arrival of Pope Francis, we have gained much more space to be Asian because he’s a Third-World man who would surely understand what it means to be in the Third World. He was the cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Secondly, he’s promoting contextual theology. So, this is our Asian moment. We need to seize it. But I’m sorry to say I don’t see the enthusiasm and energy to do that. We can do much more than what we are doing because this is our moment. If we lose this, I wonder whether God will give us another moment like this.