Timor-Leste: the other Catholic country of Asia

Filipinos have much to learn and ponder about from the history of the second Catholic country of Asia, Timor-Leste.

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A recent column by Dr. Michael Tan about Southeast Asian relations made me search the Internet about Timor-Leste, a nation which up to that point merely lurked at the fringes of my awareness.

The trigger for me was Dr. Tan’s statement that “the Philippines can no longer claim to be the ‘only Christian’ or even ‘only Catholic’ country in southeast Asia.” It turns out that the claim of being the only significantly Christian nation in this region of the world, an idea that surely provides many of us Filipino Catholics a sense of import, has been inaccurate for thirteen years now. (I am quite sure that much of the media coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to the Philippines earlier this year involved parrotting this statement.)

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