PLENTONG, JOHOR – In his short time in the region, the first resident Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia says he has discovered a Church that is vibrant, possesses a deep missionary spirit and in solidarity with poorer Churches around the world.
Archbishop Joseph Marino, who is also Apostolic Delegate to Brunei, made these remarks at the 92nd Plenary Session of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Fourteen archbishops and bishops attended the July 8-11 meeting held at Majodi Centre in Plentong, Johor.
“It is the ministry of the nuncio to work for the people of the nation to which he is assigned,” he said in his maiden address to the bishops’ conference, adding that his work is to ensure the pastoral care and spiritual growth of Catholics.
In some situations, Archbishop Marino said, the nuncio must intervene directly with governments in order to protect the rights of people when they are ignored or violated.
“The nuncio promotes good relations with the state and the Church so that the people of God may worship, gather in prayer, educate their children, perform works of charity and fulfil their destiny without hindrance or opposition,” he said.
Archbishop Marino also addressed the Conference of Religious Major Superiors (CRMS) who were holding their meeting at the same time. He said there is still much to learn about the state of Religious life in the region.
He added that the Church relies on the many charisms that the Religious congregations possess in the spread of the Gospel. Archbishop Marino assumed his post as Vatican representative to Malaysia and Brunei on Jan 16. The bishop’s conference also held a meeting with the CRMS. Speaking on the sidelines, CRMS president Redemptorist Fr Patrick Massang said the meeting was very fruitful.
“We realised the need for greater collaboration in the area of countering human trafficking,” he said.
The issue of Islamisation was also discussed at the meeting.
By Vincent D’Silva