The Nahnews has an interesting appraisal of the growth in the number of Catholics and the numbers belonging to the different religious groups. The numbers in these other religious groups have not kept up with the growth of the Catholics.
It is healthy to have free discussion on aspects of our life as Catholics and try to point out where the Spirit is leading us. The article looking over the statistics from 1994 does not see what is happening in a completely positive light. The number of Catholics is increasing but is the spirituality of the Catholic Community keeping pace with this external growth?
A professor who has made a study of this has commented that in the Catholic Church those who are zealous remain so but you have the other group who are very passive. You have the two extremes appearing, a contrast much more obvious than in the past.
There has been a threefold growth in the number of hospitals administered by the Church and a concern that this is not always healthy. The impression is often received that it is business orientated, imitating the commercial enterprises in our larger society.
The Church has not kept pace with the Protestants in getting involved with charitable works in society. The number of Protestants are decreasing but their participation in welfare and mass media is increasing notably. Catholics have increased only slightly in welfare programs but have decreased in their participation in the mass media. The Buddhist and Won Buddhist also show a marked increase in these two areas.
The article concludes that the Protestants and Won Buddhism are very strong in the mass media and welfare programs. Won Buddhism has grown to be the fourth largest Religious group in Korea. Although social activity in the Catholic Church has decreased the many different incongruities in the other religious groups has spurred them on to get more involved in society. We have heard that the other religious groups will in the years ahead continue to stagnate while the Catholic Church will continue to grow. Looking over the statistics both within and outside the Church this optimistic way of looking at what is happening is not justified.
Another perspective is the external activity is being deemphasized so that we will become more of a contemplative community and prepare ourselves for a more mature roll in society. Let us hope that this is what is happening.