Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Accountability Not Always Pleasant

Over the years there has been a number of surveys made of parishes here in Inchon and the results used in the pastoral work. A great deal of time and money was spent in trying to do a very in depth and objective study of the situation, but the time was not ripe in most cases for the implementation of what was discovered. Top- down leadership does have certain benefits, but unless the willingness of those involved is present, little happens.

The effort to become more efficient is part of the Korean organizational ability. We usually have a period of less than six years in a parish, and the continuity with the previous direction is not always present.

One of the parishes in Seoul with the help of the diocese made a study of a parish of 6 000 registered Catholics- considered an ordinary parish in the city of Seoul. This was reported to be the first parish in Seoul that has made the results public. Hopefully, the time is ripe to spread the information to other dioceses and parishes throughout the country and efforts made to implement the findings.

The results were somewhat surprising in that the number one reason for leaving the Church were problems between members of the community, alienation- 30.2%; money and time- 22%, difficulty of confession - 13.5% those who have no interest in religion was 3.9%.

The Peace Weekly mentioned that some of the respondents felt that it was difficult to see the priest; those who were leaders in the parish gave an impression of self- righteousness that militated against expressing one's opinion within the community.

Many feel there is a lack of information on what ails some of the parishes and this information would be of help to those who are interested. In my experience the information is there for those who want it now, but none of us likes criticism.

The Maryknoll Society some years ago wanted all of us involved in Korea to show that we have exercised our powers and discharged our duties properly. A lot of time and effort went into the work but it all became a dead letter. We are too sensitive and do not like to hear bad news. It was an attempt at transparency, answerability, compliance but without results.

Hopefully the efforts expended in the one parish of Seoul will be taken seriously and efforts made to carry out what was learned.

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