Saturday, November 24, 2012

Practical Theology for the Parish

The Peace Weekly gives us  an account of  a practical theology forum, sponsored by a Korean Catholic research institute, made up of youths, religious and clergy. The article starts with the need  according to the participants to change the patriarchal clericalism  of parish life to more of a networking culture.

Two of the participants, both from Europe, pointed out that new ideas are difficult to introduce into the present parochial system, which needs to be more open, to listen to others, to emphasize the scriptures, and to get involved in society.

Another foreign priest, an authority in ecological theology, said 80 percent of  Catholics live in the Southern Hemisphere and cultural differences have to be kept in mind, also emphasizing that 99 percent are laity and that clerical members have to remember this fact.

In attendance at the forum were theologians from some ten foreign countries discussing prospects for peace in Asia, a new understanding of Church, globalization, present labor issues, spirituality, and justice and peace issues. 

A Korean seminary professor mentioned that Korea has not been equal to the task of developing small Christian communities with the help of the rest of the world.  For the movement to be rooted, he said, it's necessary--if we want to see real change--that those with middle class income not be the  ones that continue as leaders in the movement.

He lists a number of steps necessary for achieving the common good:  to have the teaching of the social gospel affect the way we deal with our society; to change our vision from the Church to society, and to have  a Gospel spirituality.

A Japanese bishop  spoke of the disputes that are bound to occur between nations when they rely on their military power. This reliance on armaments to solve problems has to change, he said, to a culture that sees the importance of wisdom in settling these disputes

If we could do without the military, he said, we would be able to solve the problems of education and the environment, and be open to working toward the welfare of all countries. True peace will come with the spread of movements against armaments and violence, and it is our work to have this spread throughout the world. 

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