The challenges facing the Church in Asia and Oceania are multifaceted and vary greatly from region to region. In many areas, poverty and natural disasters complicate the lives of the population and thus also the work of the Church. Across the area, rural exodus and migration are major issues. But many Christians also suffer from social discrimination, nationalist movements and authoritarian government systems. In 2022, ACN supported local churches in the region with a total budget of 15.7 million euros.
In most countries in Asia and Oceania, Christians are in the minority and frequently face disadvantages and social exclusion. In some countries, Christianity is seen as a harmful influence from abroad, threatening the dominance of the leading party or the perceived religious cohesion of the nation. Especially under autocratic regimes and national movements, Christians often have a difficult time. The Church also needs help in the former Central Asian Soviet republics. Here, the reconstruction of ecclesiastical structures continues 30 years after the collapse of communism.
Where Christians are in the minority, discrimination is often a daily occurrence.
Despite its predominantly diaspora situation, the Church of Asia and Oceania looks to the future with confidence. Apart from Africa, Asia is the only region in the world in which the number of priests and religious is increasing. About 30% of the world’s seminarians live in Asia. ACN assists the local churches in strengthening their presence and carrying out their multifaceted tasks. In addition to promoting the training of priests, religious and lay people, the focus is on family and youth pastoral care because of the disintegration and uprooting of families and the resulting lack of prospects for young people. These are among the great challenges facing the Church in the Asian-Oceanic region.
In the year under review, ACN was also able to approve many requests for aid for the construction and renovation of church buildings, the provision of catechetical material and the purchase of vehicles.