Monday, July 25, 2011

Globalization and Christians

Changes that occur in any society, whether known or unknown, tend to be stressful, bringing misunderstanding and often conflict. One of the big changes recently is our ability and desire to communicate easily and quickly with people from all over the world, giving rise to what has been called the 'one world' we now find ourselves living in. One of our Korean bishops, in a series of articles in the Catholic Times, discusses the subject of globalization and the Christian response.

Catholics must utilize, the bishop said, the principles of solidarity found in the Social Gospel as a way of solving the problems connected with globalization. Knowing the teachings of the Social Gospel would help us understand the way the Church sees globalization.

The bishop introduces us to what Pope John Paul said in 1999 in  the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America (#55):  "By her social doctrine the Church makes an effective contribution to the issues presented by the current globalized economy. Her moral vision in this area 'rests on the threefold cornerstone of human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity'.  The globalized economy must be analyzed in the light of the principles of social justice, respecting the preferential option for the poor, who must be allowed to take their place in such an economy, and the requirements of the international common good." He continues: "The Church in America is called not only to promote greater integration between nations, thus helping to create an authentic globalized culture of solidarity, but also to cooperate with every legitimate means in reducing the negative effects of globalization, such as the domination of the powerful over the weak, especially in the economic sphere, and the loss of the values of local cultures in favor of a misconstrued homogenization."

Among the many experts, there is  little  disagreement on the way the Pope has expressed himself. But they would like to see the Church go deeper into the problem of the poor-rich divide and the difficulties that derive from this inequity in society. This requires a new examination of the problem, and setting up new ways of dealing with it.

The changes we face today are great and many, the bishop said, and the accompanying problems surpass even those that followed the industrial revolution. He said we can't just look at the bad effects and work with expedient solutions, but sincerely make efforts to adapt to the reality of the world we are in. In the Korea of today, this would mean dealing more effectively with the recent immigrants, our poorest of the poor.

We are seeing a growing polarization as a result of these changes in society, and the Church has yet to come to grips with this problem resolutely and directly. The Church can't help but  face this new reality as  part of the pastoral work of the Church in evangelizing society. 


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