Monday, November 30, 2009
Korean Catholic Bishops' Messages
The Bishops of Korea published their pastoral letters for the new liturgical year. The editorial in the Peace Weekly mentioned the Church has much to be thankful. The Church reached the 5 million mark- from 1995 an increase of 75.4 %, while the other religions have stayed the same or have decreased. This is plenty of reason to take pride in what has been accomplished. A survey taken recently by a Protestant group mentioned that the confidence in the Catholic Church was the highest at 32%.
The editorial mentioned that this may be only our perception and not the actual condition of the Church. This concern is shown in many different areas of Catholic life. The numbers of those active in the Church has not increased, the number of baptisms is down, the religious education programs are not doing well, we are getting older and the participation in society has decreased. The increase of materialism is influencing the Church.
The Bishops see that being immersed in the Scriptures is the way to overcome the onslaughts and challenges coming from globalization. There are many movements in different parts of the Church encouraging and instructing us to live with the Scriptures but this has to be a movement within the whole Korean Church.
There is the possibility of being concerned more with efforts to grow exteriorly, with more and bigger buildings, more activities, better and more successful programs for evangelizing, but if this is not accomplished with a similar efforts at deepening our commitment to Jesus and the life of the Spirit then we will not grow as a community of disciples that will change the world.
The acknowledgment of the possibilities of a fault line in our very quick growth in numbers is a very healthy reminder for more introspection, and efforts to deepen our personal spirituality, parish and home life in the years ahead.