Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Catechumenate in Korea

Back in 2006 the Korean Government published the report on the 2005 census. The religious statistics were interesting for the government figures of Catholics were larger than the Catholic Churchs own figures by many hundreds of thousands. It was assumed that the difference in the figures was that those who were attracted to Catholicism would consider themselves such for the census. In a report on these statistics in the Independent News Service Here and Now ( they mentioned that this is not all an unmitigated blessing.

The reason for those coming out to the Church can me extremely varied and not always for religious reasons. This is not surprising but the catechetical period should be one in which these motives are changed or sublimated to a different level. This means that the catechetical period is extremely important.

In recent months the reason for the interest shown in the Church has a great deal to do with our first Cardinal who died on Feb. 16th at 86 years old. He was a defender of human rights against the dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s. He was respected by many in our society more than 400,000 people paid their respects at his wake and funeral on Feb.20th. Just to day we had a visit from another parish and they mentioned that there were a large number of people who came out to the Church without anyone inviting them. This they attribute to the publicity that surrounded the death of Cardinal Kim.

The Church, as with all of us, the difference of what is said and what is done is not always the same and this does pose many problems. Many of those who enter the community are disappointed in what they see and drop out; others fail to be attracted because of what they see. We are not always the positive advertising for Christianity that we were meant to be. Hopefully we will be more demanding on what we expect of those entering the Community during the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (the period of the catechumenate).

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