Christianity is the world’s largest religion, having quadrupled in number over the last century to 2.1 billion adherents. Much discussion has focussed on the signs that the distribution of Christians is shifting rapidly from the Global North to the Global South at a pace that, for some, is a cause for alarm (See Philip Jenkins (2003) and Sanneh and Carpenter (2005). While over the last millenium two thirds of Christians lived in Europe, about 70 per cent of Christians now live in the non-West — in Africa, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific — thus constituting a ‘southern shift’ of Christianity that shows no signs of abating. In this presentation I discuss some of the challenges facing the Roman Catholic church in Asia in the face of such demographic shifts.
Biography: Dr Julius Bautista is an anthropologist who, as Senior Lecturer, teaches Religious Studies at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. He is co-appointed as an associate at the Religion and Globalization in Asian Contexts Cluster of the Asia Research Institute, NUS. His scholarship focuses on Christian practices, beliefs and institutions in Asia. He is co-editor, with Francis Khek Gee Lim, of Christianity and the State in Asia: Complicity and Conflict (Routlege, 2009) and author of Figuring Catholicism: An Ethnohistory of the Santo Niño de Cebu (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2010).