Sunday, May 8, 2011
A New Beginning In the Taegu Diocese
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.