Church in Indonesia implements pastoral strategy with caution
Catholic Church workers in Indonesia have decided to go ahead in implementing the Asian Integral Pastoral Approach (AsIPA) program for Church neighbourhood groups, despite warnings that the method is unsuitable for Muslim majority societies.
A recent meeting of 50 church personnel took the decision after considering advice that the strategy promoted by the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences is most suitable for "mostly Catholic neighbourhoods".
It is considered less suitable in Muslim majority areas, or for Catholics whose education is limited.
In the AsIPA program, Church neighbourhood groups or Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) assemble to reflect on problems that face the community. The method involves meditation, discussion, sharing and role-playing based on biblical themes.
Fr Thomas Vijay, an Indian who was a resource person at the meeting, responded to the participants' concerns by noting that all who successfully implemented AsIPA in India are less well educated people living in Catholic minority areas, "but (they) diligently and continuously implement the AsIPA method."
The AsIPA method is designed to complete the BEC model that the the country's Catholics have been implementing in line with the Indonesian Catholic Church's Grand Synod in 2000.
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15 Aug 2003