Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ecumenicism Doing Well In Korea

Toward the end of May, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, visited Korea for meetings with Buddhist, Confucian and Protestant communities, and representatives of other religious groups. He was accompanied by Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, the secretary of the Pontifical Council. They were invited by the Episcopal Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue.

Korea gets high marks in efforts to be ecumenical  and having  respect for the different religious groups within the country. A brief conversation with the Cardinal was written up in the Peace Weekly.The archbishop responsible for ecumenicism and inter-religious dialogue for the bishops of Korea  was with the Cardinal during the 5-day visit.

The Cardinal noted that the world today is faced with  discord and factional strife among religions. There is no  reason, he said, to reject others because we are different. As a people, we have a great diversity in how we approach and see life, and religious people should acknowledge this difference and be able to work with it.

"Religious people," the Cardinal said, "should open their hearts and go in search of the common good, and work for the happiness of humankind. Dialogue means discovering  our differences and our  common points and fine tuning the differences so that we can come to some sort of agreement. The aim of religious dialogue  is to find a common understanding that will help bring happiness to humankind."

This dialogue is not only for religious leaders but for all religious people. All should be concerned with the problems we are facing and with our efforts to arrive at a common viewpoint which will help make a more just society. The Cardinal believes that the religions in Korea  already have a common understanding of family and the value of life.

He was impressed with the open mindedness of the Korean people to other religions. At the same time he was happy to see the pride they had in their Catholicism and hopes they will want to spread it to other parts of Asia. He also hopes that we will be able to form our communities so they will be attractive to those who come in contact with them.

The Church in Korea takes seriously this  dialogue among religions; the bishops realize this is an important issue in preparing for peace. A journalist who commented on the visit of the Cardinal said Koreans often say there is a similarity in feelings and an area of rapport between Buddhists and Catholics and with the Confucians; except for the ancestral tablets, the Church has no difficulty with the celebration of the rites. There is much in Korean Catholicism, he said, that should help bring us to a shared understanding among the different religions.

1 comment:

  1. If you are interested in some new ideas on religious pluralism and the Trinity, please check out my website at, and give me your thoughts on improving content and presentation.

    My thesis is that an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s answer to the world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.

    In a constructive worldview: east, west, and far-east religions present a threefold understanding of One God manifest primarily in Muslim and Hebrew intuition of the Deity Absolute, Christian and Krishnan Hindu conception of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being; and Shaivite Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist apprehension of the Destroyer (meaning also Consummator), Unconditioned Absolute, or Spirit of All That Is and is not. Together with their variations and combinations in other major religions, these religious ideas reflect and express our collective understanding of God, in an expanded concept of the Holy Trinity.

    The Trinity Absolute is portrayed in the logic of world religions, as follows:

    1. Muslims and Jews may be said to worship only the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the existential Deity Absolute Creator, known as Allah or Yhwh, Abba or Father (as Jesus called him), Brahma, and other names; represented by Gabriel (Executive Archangel), Muhammad and Moses (mighty messenger prophets), and others.

    2. Christians and Krishnan Hindus may be said to worship the first person through a second person, i.e. the experiential Universe or "Universal” Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul), called Son/Christ or Vishnu/Krishna; represented by Michael (Supreme Archangel), Jesus (teacher and savior of souls), and others. The Allsoul is that gestalt of personal human consciousness, which we expect will be the "body of Christ" (Mahdi, Messiah, Kalki or Maitreya) in the second coming – personified in history by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha (9th incarnation of Vishnu), and others.

    3. Shaivite Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucian-Taoists seem to venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or appearance, ie. the Destiny Consummator of ultimate reality – unqualified Nirvana consciousness – associative Tao of All That Is – the absonite* Unconditioned Absolute Spirit “Synthesis of Source and Synthesis,”** who/which is logically expected to be Allah/Abba/Brahma glorified in and by union with the Supreme Being – represented in religions by Gabriel, Michael, and other Archangels, Mahadevas, Spiritpersons, etc., who may be included within the mysterious Holy Ghost.

    Other strains of religion seem to be psychological variations on the third person, or possibly combinations and permutations of the members of the Trinity – all just different personality perspectives on the Same God. Taken together, the world’s major religions give us at least two insights into the first person of this thrice-personal One God, two perceptions of the second person, and at least three glimpses of the third.

    * The ever-mysterious Holy Ghost or Unconditioned Spirit is neither absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite, but absonite; meaning neither existential nor experiential, but their ultimate consummation; neither fully ideal nor totally real, but a middle path and grand synthesis of the superconscious and the conscious, in consciousness of the unconscious.

    ** This conception is so strong because somewhat as the Absonite Spirit is a synthesis of the spirit of the Absolute and the spirit of the Supreme, so it would seem that the evolving Supreme Being may himself also be a synthesis or “gestalt” of humanity with itself, in an Almighty Universe Allperson or Supersoul. Thus ultimately, the Absonite is their Unconditioned Absolute Coordinate Identity – the Spirit Synthesis of Source and Synthesis – the metaphysical Destiny Consummator of All That Is.

    For more details, please see:

    Samuel Stuart Maynes