Saturday, August 11, 2012

Korean Women Theologians

 Theology  considered the prerogative of the clergy from the middle ages is now a field that the lay people are beginning to study and research. However, Korea still has only a few who are pursuing studies in theology and to find one studying dogmatic theology is rare indeed. Dr.Choi Teresa is one of these who has received her doctorate from the Gregorian in Rome and was interviewed by the Catholic Times.

Dogmatic theology is that part of theology which treats of the theoretical truths of faith concerning God and his works. This is the foundation of all the other areas of theology and at the Gregorian there are few lay people pursuing this study.

Teresa has been asked often why she took up the study of dogma and she answers that the lay people should be well  versed in theology for they have to witness to their faith and to live it. Lay people, she says, are not only to repeat the words of the clergy and religious. The Second Vatican Council makes clear lay people are to cooperate with the magisterium. It is an obligation on the part of the laity to study theology. This is not a challenge to the magisterium but a way for the laity to grow and be able to spread the word of God. But to do this in Korea, Teresa anticipates, may be difficult.

Teresa has met many Koreans who are studying theology and there were those in their twenties who had great potential but the reality is that no one wants them. In the West, especially in Germany and
Switzerland, it is very natural to have laity study and work within the field of theology. In Korea it is understood to be in the hands of the clergy and religious, The climate for this to happen in Korea has not yet been prepared and Teresa wants to help it happen.

Teresa feels that it is necessary in Korea to put theology in the words that the laity can understand and with the sensitivity that the Koreans have for the spiritual she feels that they will exceed what was done by the laity in the West.

Studying at the Gregorian her biggest surprise was to see how many of the  words in her studies were made for the West. Those living in the West have no problem with these words, but that is not true for those in the East. Dr. Choi wants to contribute in changing  this in her studies and work. She believes this will help to advance the study of theology in Korea.

Teresa experienced in her studies the inability to understand what she was studying and there was no one to explain clearly and satisfactorily why this was happening. She studied theology with this frustration. Theology should be using  human words to convey God's word, and this study is theology.

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