Sunday, April 22, 2012

Working for the Common Good

Embracing diversity in Korean society was the topic in the Catholic Times' column written by a diocesan priest. We see many issues that are disputed within society, which poses a problem when you have a need for policy statements for the whole of society. It is not like in the past where you had those for and against democracy; today it is environment, feminism, finding work for the young, all kinds of different societal issues that are taken up by the mass media and reacted to by the citizens.

Catholics, depending on age, gender, place in society, location, and interests, hold different positions on these issues. There was once  a solidarity among Catholics but today with social issues this is no longer true. Each one expresses strongly his individual position and this will continue to be the case.

Whether a fact or not, the priest wonders if this is the reason why many Catholics have difficulty with the Church speaking out on single issues so forcibly. There are  certain positive results for this approach: single issue confrontation gets better results, the issue is made clear, and we have less discord. In the process of  working for the truth  much is learned, all for the good. This was seen in the Church's involvement with the democratization issue in the past.

The problem here is that in a pluralistic society, when confrontational issues are disputed, we often see one segment of society against the majority. Discord can be settled with compromise and mediation but there is also conflict  that requires the selection of one of two  positions.

The first type of discord may have a political solution which can mitigate the discord. In the second case we have a choice for the truth or not. This calls for an intense battle. This dichotomy between good and evil is very clear for many Catholics  but we are not the only ones living in this world.

Different nations have come to an administrative decision; so what has to be contemplated is our response for the common good.

The columnist wants us to consider an "Enhancing Diversity Management"  approach to the problems. It is not simply adapting to the diversity, but to do all that is possible to work with what we have been given for the common good. This is understood not to compromise what we hold as true but to  make the effort to understand and respect the differences of others and to act as  people of faith. We are dealing with traits that are part of our calling: magnanimity, generosity and thoughtfulness.

He hopes that the 19th  National Assembly will be accepting of diversity as the leadership takes office.  The values of diversity, the market and culture are all to be considered, and also the opposing values, and to work toward a synthesis for the common good. He concludes with the hope of St. Paul that we work for the building of one community.

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