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Caritas Asia Partners’ Forum highlights critical importance of solidarity and listening in humanitarian efforts

Archbishop Isao Kikuchi emphasized the crucial roles of solidarity and listening in addressing global environmental and social challenges at the Caritas Asia Partners’ Forum in Bangkok on June 12.

“Solidarity and partnership are not easy. It’s easy to talk about, but it’s not easy to practice,” said the prelate of Tokyo who heads the Holy See’s Caritas Internationalis.

Speaking to over 100 representatives from 25 Caritas organizations across Asia, he pointed to these elements as central to building effective humanitarian responses and resilient communities.

In his keynote speech, the prelate shared his experiences and the broader challenges faced by communities across the region, advocating for a unified approach to the dual crises of ecological degradation and poverty. 

Drawing on the concept of ‘synodality’—a collaborative action framework promoted by the Catholic care organization—he urged the forum’s attendees to adopt a culture of deep listening and mutual support.

He noted that while many meetings are held to address global issues, a significant hurdle often remains the act of listening. 

“We often talk and teach in meetings, eager to point out errors, but it’s much harder to remain quiet and listen,” he said, adding that true listening requires opening one’s heart to fully acknowledge another’s presence and perspective.

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According to the prelate, this approach is crucial for the Caritas Confederation, which addresses complex issues like migration, climate change, and poverty—challenges that demand not just resources and expertise but also a deep commitment to empathy and understanding across cultural and national lines.

Archbishop Kikuchi underscored the potential for collective humanitarian action to foster more just, sustainable, and compassionate societies. 

He highlighted the need for continued partnership, collaboration, and empathy, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued in the quest to alleviate suffering and enhance the dignity of the most vulnerable.

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