In large parts of Asia and Oceania, poverty and natural disasters are making life difficult for the population. Across the area, rural exodus and migration are major issues. Communist totalitarianism, radical Islamism and religious nationalism are among the greatest threats to religious freedom in much of this vast region. The burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic also greatly concern to the Church in Asia and Oceania. ACN was able to offer aid totalling 20.7 million euros for the area in the year under review.
The challenges facing the Church in Asia and Oceania are multifaceted and vary greatly from region to region. In some Asian countries, Christianity is seen as a harmful influence from abroad, threatening the political leadership or the perceived religious cohesion of the nation. In many places, social discrimination against Christians has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christianity is perceived in many places as a threat from abroad.
ACN helps local churches carry out their diverse tasks and supports them, for example, in building and maintaining their infrastructure and also in training their priests and staff. Often, the Church in Asia and Oceania has been at the forefront of the response to the pandemic, without any regard to the religious affiliation of those seeking help. In some places, religious communities have even made their houses available as quarantine shelters. During the pandemic, our attention was therefore particularly focused on securing the livelihoods of priests and religious so that they could continue their ministry to those in need. Protective materials were also provided to ensure that pastoral care would be able to continue.