Church, state and secularism in Asia: The public nature of the church in Timor-Leste

Journal article


Hodge, Joel. (2012) Church, state and secularism in Asia: The public nature of the church in Timor-Leste. International Journal of Practical Theology. 16(2), pp. 323 - 348.
AuthorsHodge, Joel
Abstract

The Western discourse and norms around secularism, particularly Church-state relations, are foreign in many ways to the majority world, especially Asia. However, as the modern nation-state has taken root in Asia, different models of secularism have developed with interesting relationships to the particular cultural and religious context of each country. In the difficult course of forming a secular nation-state, Asian nations have had to address the dominant religious traditions and institutions of each nation, including Christian churches. This process has occasionally provoked conflict and has presented a particular dilemma to Christian churches in how to respond and relate to the developing nation-state. In order for theology to adequately address this situation (particular the context of modern secular discourses) and conceptualise the public shape and role of the church, a practical examination of the church's relationship to and formation of culture and politics is required. To explore this process, this essay examines the case of Timor-Leste (or East Timor) and its relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, particularly in regards to the state-building process that has occurred after independence. The Church's influence, which grew rapidly during the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999), has been contested since independence by some in the political sphere, such as in the 2005 dispute with the Government. By examining the 2005 dispute, the essay analyses the nature of the Catholic Church's influence on Timorese cultural and political identity and her relationship with the new Timorese nation-state. The essay identifies the different models of secularism operative in Timor as they have relevance to the Asian context more generally.

Year2012
JournalInternational Journal of Practical Theology
Journal citation16 (2), pp. 323 - 348
PublisherWalter de Gruyter GmbH
ISSN1430-6921
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84883120806
Web address (URL)http://ezproxy.acu.edu.au/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=93718179&site=ehost-live
https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=93718179&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Page range323 - 348
Research GroupSchool of Theology
Place of publicationGermany
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