Saturday, May 7, 2011
Ecumenicism Doing Well In Korea
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.