Sunday, May 8, 2011

A New Beginning In the Taegu Diocese

As we know, because of circumstances, environment, education and personality and many other factors, everyone tends to see the world differently. Members of the Catholic Church are no different. There is  always the dream that with our common Scriptures and Tradition we will have unity in essentials, freedom in accidentals, and charity in all things. But what is essential seems to elude us.

For  many years, the issues of justice and peace have been put on the back burner by some; others want you to see little else. While the teachings of the Social Gospel are not in doubt--they are an integral part of the message we have been given--there have been disagreements over the place and importance of justice and peace issues in our teaching.

To celebrate its 100 anniversary, the diocese of Taegu inaugurated a Justice and Peace Committee for the diocese All the other dioceses have in some form a Justice and Peace Committee. Taegu was the last to join, celebrating  with a Mass and  by reading a letter of congratulations from the head of the Bishops Justice and  Peace Committee. Below is a summary of the letter.

Congratulations on the beginning of the Justice and Peace committee in Taegu, and thanking God.  He thanks the ordinary of the diocese and all those connected in some way to  the committee. The Church with the  Gospel message  and mission to spread this message does so in a variety of ways but the justice and peace committee is an official structure for working  in the light of the Gospel.  Taegu in many ways has  promoted the Social Gospel but now with the new structure they will be more active in this area.

This new structure began under the prophetic leadership of  Pope Paul VI in 1967. It was during his visit to South America and seeing the poverty and injustices there that he  decided to begin  a Justice and Peace Committee  at the Vatican, and have it spread  throughout the Catholic World.

The Catholic Church in Korea, under the leadership of the Pope, began in 1970  its own Justice and Peace Committee. Gradually this spread to the different dioceses and during the  totalitarian rule of the army  these committees worked for human rights and democracy. These committees also worked in  areas of labor, finance,  politics, community, environment, life issues and international issues. They also taught the Social Gospel and gave them a means to judge the morality of what they saw in society. In 2004 the Church published, in Korean,  its Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

The bishop goes on to say in his letter that he  hopes that with this new start there will be more study of the Social Gospel and implementation of its teachings, helping our Christians not only to rest in their individual  piety but to  consider the common good, justice, and our solidarity in life as Christians.To be the salt and light of the world, he said, much is being asked of us.  And he again congratulates the diocese of Taegu, and prays that their efforts will be blessed by God.                                                                                         

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