Monday, June 6, 2011

Survey of the Parish Council Leaders in Seoul Diocese

The role of lay people in the the Korean Catholic Church has been extremely important and is now acknowledged as constituting one of the  most active laity within the world wide Church.  This was the way an  article on a survey with the parish council presidents and vice presidents began its report. The Church of Korea took form without the help of the clergy and continues this responsibility by raising up lay people as leaders in the Church.

The survey was taken among the heads of the parish councils in the Seoul Diocese and the pastoral head of the diocese comments on its importance.

31.7 percent of the parish heads  consider the  approach to the tepid as the number one concern of the parish councils. Catholics come in one door and go out the back door was how the situation was described. This is like greeting foreign guests and is a serious problem that the Church faces.The second important issue was recovering a Catholic sense of identity (27.6 percent). 20.3 percent desired  unity among the different lay groups in the church.

To the questions about the relationship to the North, the work in society, and welfare work, there were few responses. For the parish heads the focus was less on the problems in society and more within the parishes.       

To the question on what they thought about the small Christian communities, 52.6 percent thought it was a good way for fellowship to grow. This was  more so for men than for women.

68 percent of the men attend the small group meetings; 26 percent  attend when something important comes up; and  6 percent rarely attend, though they attend  more so than the average Catholic but it is still less than ideal.

Those who have read the Old Testament completely was 2.4 percent; those who have read the New Testament, 10 percent; those who have not read anything, less than 1 percent.

27 percent are now reading the Catholic Catechism; 10 percent have read it completely; 62 percent have not read any of it.  59 percent  are slightly familiar with the documents from the Second Vatican Council; 32 percent  are not familiar with the  documents; those who are well acquainted was 7 percent.

74 percent of the parish councils leaders thought that devotion and  service was an important qualification for the work. Those who thought it was respect and support of the Catholics was 11 percent;  9.5 percent thought it was a strong spirituality; 2.4 percent thought that money and social standing was important.

Only 17 percent  of the parish councils had over half of their members as women. Over half of the parish councils had from 20 to 40 percent women. This is a area in which we should improve, said the pastoral head of the diocese.

The article ended with a wish that the parish council heads spend more time with the Scriptures and reading the Church Documents.

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