Tuesday, March 2, 2010
We Need A Secular St. Francis
The pitch of discontent within society among some of our Catholic intellectuals is strident and unforgiving. It is rather surprising to see it expressed so clearly in an article in this week's Catholic Times, although one line at the bottom of the article tells us what is written does not necessarily receive the approval of the paper.
The writer tells us there is too much extravagance, vanity, following the latest fashions and technological advances in Korea. In the older days leaders in society did not always live well, but now life is good. Some of these leaders in society are giving a bad example to the ordinary citizens who see this extravagant life style and misunderstand it to be a sign of success.
The problem for the writer is that no one in our society is speaking out. No one is telling it the way it is: telling us what a well lived live should be-- life of virtue, living according to conscience, honesty, morality; there is only silence. We can teach morality to our middle and high school students, but when all of society works within an atmosphere that says to succeed you need English, win at whatever you do , take all the means and methods necessary to succeed-- the resulting society is going to to be sick.
Adhering to noble values is not as important as enjoyment. Places of entertainment, immersing ourselves in amusement, decadent Internet sites, media that goes along with this trend in society is giving the wrong message. The writer sees this trend in our society to be very detrimental to the mental health of our cities and doing much harm to the emotional life of our youth.
Koreans love brand name goods: truer of the city than the country folk , truer of the rich than the commoners. One needs the right brand of clothes, shoes and handbags to be treated as persons. You would think that those with a good education, good positions in society, and
with character would know better, but they are in the forefront of the movement, he stresses.
Korea is a leader in making of these fake brand goods and does it exceptionally well. Japanese tourists to Korea are great buyers of these fake goods. We are tarnishing the image of our country with this reputation.
Korea has pregnant mothers who travel to the States to give birth to American citizens; children wont need to serve in the Korean military; can go to college in the States and some future day allow the parents to emigrate to the States. The writer hopes that our Catholics will start speaking out in what they see going on in Korea.
It is time for a secular St. Francis to take to the stage and start a revolution with a message that down deep we know to be true. We have many St. Francises in the Church and they speak out, but their voices do not count for much in the society that we have made. Example of society is too all pervasive so we follow the crowd not seeing where we are headed. It will have to be a secular St. Francis with a whole different vocabulary.