The bishop of Chejudo, and president of the bishops' conference, Peter Kang U-il, who gave an interview to the Catholic press on this issue, will head the research center. They will attempt to do what the dioceses would have difficulty in doing independently: gathering knowledge and expertise from resources throughout the country in order to develop programs for the whole country, form lay leaders, and provide for the on-going education of clergy.
Catholics in Korea number over 5 million, but how much of the teaching of Jesus has become part of their life? How much has it influenced the way we live? Because we have been baptized does not necessarily mean, the bishop says frankly and with some disappointment, that we have been evangelized. We have to examine again what this new evangelization means for our future. Working with small Christian communities will be a big part of the evangelizing vision of the Church, and leadership programs for lay people will be tied in with these small Christian communities.
Although the number of priests has increased greatly in recent years there has not been, after the seven years of seminary, any formal program for the continued education of the clergy. To do this on the diocesan level in a unified way is beyond the capabilities of the different dioceses.
From the 7th to the 28th of October, 2012, some 300 bishops from around the world will meet in Rome for the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to reflect on the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith. In preparation for this meeting, the bishops have the task to report on what is being done in our country to promote the new evangelization. Usually this is done by individual dioceses but with input from the research center we will have a unified white paper on the issue.
The intention of the research center is to work together with the many research institutes and pastoral centers in Korea, exchanging information and acting as a go-between. Our participation next year in the Synod of Bishops in Rome should be greatly benefited because of the resources that now will be available to the new research center.