Nahnews visited again the issue of Korean Catholics increasing as are the numbers leaving the church. This is similar to what is happening in the States. Masan Diocese has the lowest percentage of Catholics going to Sunday Mass with 19.1% and Chun Chon Diocese with highest attending Mass at 29.9% .
In Korea we have the system started by the French Missioners of giving Catholics a card with their name and address which they are to place in a prepared basket during Lent and the Advent; this will be recorded in the parish books. If this card is missing for three years then the person is considered tepid ( to have left the church). A person may be going to Sunday Mass and receiving the sacraments but not having submitted the card for three years, these will be considered tepid. Those who have left the Church are not necessarily the same as those who are registered as tepid.
A Gallup poll taken in 2004 mentioned that 42.8% who consider themselves without a religion did have a religion at one time. 13.3% of these at one time were Catholic. Of those with a religion 14.9% were at one time Catholic.
The reason for leaving is not easy to determine. However, those who were not faithful in their Sunday observance, those from 30 to 4o years of age, a high educational background and with a pay scale that is lower or higher than average, have a higher rate of dropout.
The report ended with the mention that those who are now presently going to Sunday Mass 16.8% consider themselves tepid. 15.4% have considered changing their religion,
and many who continue to go to Mass consider leaving. 30% of those that are baptized leave within 3 years.
In conclusion the report stated that it is important that those who enter the Church remember that the important part of the preparation is not the teaching, the preparation for the sacrament and what has to be done but the internal change of the person attained before being baptized.
The Catholic paper had an article on a parish in the Suwon diocese that has over 61 percent of those on the registers going to Sunday Mass. It is an example of what can happen when the community and the pastor take an interest. Originally the parish had a percentage that was higher than other parishes in the diocese but this was increased sizably by the work of the community.