Catholic Church

Bishop Ambo David elected vice president of Asian bishops’ assembly

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Bishop Ambo David elected vice president of Asian bishops’ assembly

SHEPHERD. Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

This is the latest international assignment of Bishop Pablo Virgilio 'Ambo' David, an internationally trained Bible scholar and a prominent voice in Philippine society

MANILA, Philippines – Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio “Ambo” David, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), was elected vice president of the assembly of Catholic bishops in Asia.

The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) chose David when its central committee met in Bangkok on Thursday, February 22, according to CBCP News.

This is the latest international assignment of David, a 64-year-old native of Betis, Guagua, Pampanga, who is an internationally trained Bible scholar and a prominent voice in Philippine society.

In October 2023, David – best remembered for defending drug war victims in the Philippines – was elected one of seven members of the information body of a crucial Vatican summit.

At FABC on Thursday, chosen along with David was the body’s new president, Indian Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão of Goa, and its new secretary-general, Archbishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo.

The three new FABC officials will begin their terms in January 2025.

What is FABC?

FABC is a coordinating body of Roman Catholic bishops in Asia that was founded in Manila in 1970, when Pope Paul VI was visiting the Philippines. Its secretariat is now based in Bangkok.

Decisions of FABC are not binding on the bishops of Asia, because in the command structure of the Catholic Church, each bishop is answerable only to the Pope in Rome.

FABC statements through the years, however, have provided critical direction for the Church in Asia. The assembly has tackled contemporary problems such as climate change, migration, poverty, and the breakdown of families.

Despite efforts to spread the Catholic faith in the world’s biggest continent, Catholics remain a small minority in Asia – 153.36 million or only 3.32% of the population, according to statistics released by the Vatican in October 2023. 

In contrast, the percentage of Catholics stands at 64.08% in the Americas, 39.58% in Europe, 25.94% in Oceania, and 19.38% in Africa. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com