What is a Catholic world view? Simply put: A comprehensive view of life that provides us with a way of living guided by the teachings of Jesus, with God as the source of true joy. "Whatever brings us true joy, whether the small joys of each day or the greatest joys in life, has its source in God, even if this does not seem immediately obvious" were the words addressed this year to the young people on Youth Sunday. Joy is a sign of a life lived according to the teachings of Jesus; sadly this is not always understood. Overwhelmed by so many other teachings, we sometimes forget why the other teachings are there.
people are no longer attending our community functions as in the past,
most dioceses acknowledging this fact as the most serious problem now
Church. How to deal with this problem is certainly not a one-time
an ongoing pastoral concern. The Christian values given to the young
have not been able to withstand the pressures to conform to the secular
values of society and the pervasive materialistic concerns of the
present age, particularly as it manifests in our educational system and
in the media.
That the Catholic world view was not able to withstand the assault was
not the problem of the world view but its absence, the failure to
successfully evangelize this core message of the faith.
of Faith is an attempt to focus our energies on improving this
evangelization process, especially with regard to our youth. Picking up
on this important issue, two editorials in the Catholic Times have
recently discussed the youth problem as a manifestation of systemic
problems both in society and in the Church. The first concern discussed
was the need to
show a more pastoral interest in young people, and a willingness to use our finances to promote the work with the young. The second concern was the
large number of suicides in Korean society
and the widespread discontent of the younger generation. Among developed
countries, Korea leads
in both of these categories, with suicides among the young the
number-one reason for deaths in this age group.
mentions that many of the dioceses are taking great interest
in the pastoral care of the young precisely because of the lack of
values, pluralism, the ever-present secularization and relativism of
society. The need for a new mentoring system was suggested as a possible
help for young people in finding their rightful place in the present
and future future society.
Putting these thoughts together with the large numbers
of youthful suicides, we can see a connection. Society has improved
economically, doubling where it stood in 2000, and yet the rate of suicides
continues to climb, more than doubling where it was in 2000. The increase of material prosperity has
not increased the happiness quotient of Koreans. According to the OECD,
Korea ranks 31st of 32 countries surveyed in the happiness index.
number of suicides
is a good indication of the health of a society. With Korea's high rate
suicides, it is difficult to say we are a developed country. The
government should of course not hinder but help its citizens to find
happiness, and the Catholic Church also needs to determine how much of
the unhappiness in
society is due to the cultural climate we have created.
should be remembered that the fullness of a Christian life will
overcome all the difficulties of life, even a toxic culture, and give us
a joy that nothing can
take away. In an attempt to make this reality more available to all,
parishes are looking for ways to be more welcoming to their members.
Fellowship and a family atmosphere are often missing in the typical
parish, resulting in more Catholics leaving the faith, and less success
in attracting more converts. We can go a long way toward changing this
troubling scenario by combining our Catholic worldview with a warm
loving atmosphere whenever we gather together. This will help put
Jesus and the joy he came to give us back into our lives.