Monday, April 25, 2011
A New Beginning In the Taegu Diocese
The Church in Korea has had many diocesan synods. The first Taegu synod was in 1997. "These synods themselves are part of the new evangelization," wrote Pope John Paul in his 1994 apostolic letter. " They were born from the Second Vatican Council's vision of the Church. They open up broad areas for the participation of the laity, whose specific responsibilities in the Church they define. They are an expression of the strength which Christ has given to the entire people of God, making them a sharer in his own messianic mission as prophet, priest and king." (#21)
450 priests, religious and lay people will gather together as delegates, remembering the words of the bishop who called for the first Korean synod 14 years ago: "Since this was our first synod we did not know what to expect. We did not cover all we should have covered," he lamented. "The next time, having had this experience, the second synod will build on the first synod with wonderful results."
The present intention of the Taegu Synod is to make use of what was learned from the first synod and add and make up for what was missed the first time. We will adapt, a spokesperson said, to the changing times and consider present problems. The protocol is to have all the delegates vote on all of the the propositions brought before the general assembly. What has the approval of the delegates will be presented to the bishop for his approval; they then will be promulgated to the diocese as their future work.
The Mass inaugurating the synod was celebrated on April 8th. The first meeting of the general assembly will be on June 12th. Four committees will meet to draw up guidelines prior to the first meeting of all the delegates. The work of the synod is expected to last for a number of years, and they are asking for our prayers for a successful conclusion.
The Korean Church has shown a great interest in these synods but the results have not always been successful. A lot of money has been spent with great expectations, but also with some misgivings. It's perhaps a necessary first step in breaking down some of the thinking from the top-down approach to governance to a bottom-up approach. The bottom-up style--a difficult and often bothersome way of solving problems--will take some time to get used to, but Taegu is showing us the way. May this second attempt be a lesson to the whole Korean Church of what is possible.