Saturday, January 29, 2011

Going in Search for the Lost Sheep

The effort the Church is making to return the lost sheep to the fold is impressive. It is also old fare, said the Peace Weekly in its  editorial, with results leaving a great deal to be desired. One third of registered Catholics are no longer seen at Church.

One diocese was given their marching orders by the bishop in his pastoral letter to all the Catholics: "Let all the parishes and districts of the diocese work together in harmony, and with all our energy in the work of evangelization." 

One parish makes clear that this pastoral work is not new and is rather simple: You go to them and bring them back. The key is the will and the effort of the pastor. It is no easy task, especially when there is not a good feeling toward the Church, so wholehearted effort is required.

The lead article in the Peace Weekly profiled a pastor who visits all the families within his parish area, often hearing confessions for those interested, and when the visits are finished, he has a Mass in the village where they all gather. If you listen to them and show them a warm interest, the pastor says emphatically, they will return.

The Sisters mentioned that a woman blocked the priest from entering her house with her body at the front door, telling him to go home. The priest had telephoned in advance and was told that he would be greeted with insults. He asked only for 5 minutes of her time; the sisters say that in most cases of this type there is a change of heart.

Those who don't want to talk to the priest will often say, "I will be going out soon." This is a Korean way of not being blunt and at the same time saying no. However, there does seem to be a difference between the tepid in Korea and those from other areas of the world. It  seems to be, for most of them, not a question of loss of faith, but rather circumstances that make it difficult to go to church--sometimes it's work-related, and sometimes it's difficulties within the church community.

The culture in Korea does not  seem to have accepted the ideas of the West when it comes to truth, authority, relativism, objective reality and skepticism. They may do what the West does but with a very Korean state of mind and with a feeling of guilt. The young may have accepted more of the Western ideas, which means that we will be seeing a change in our society soon.                            

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