Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Korean lay apostolate, fifty years after the Second Vatican Council, was the  topic of a symposium written up by the Catholic Times: What are the changes and the directions for the future? A number of authorities in different fields presented their views on these questions. 

The first participant stressed that the populus dei (people of God) concept, much discussed at the council, explains a great deal of what has since happened in the Church. He viewed the Old Testament as a history of the people of God, and believed that seeing the Old Testament community as a closed society would show a lack of understanding.

Another participant stressed the efforts needed to educate our pastoral workers and lay people in Christian theology and philosophy to deepen the search. After two hundred years of Catholicism in Korea, our roots are firmly planted in a portion of the culture. but we must continue to find ways of speaking to the culture and working for its evangelization, forming pastoral workers and cultivating the formation of lay theologians to accomplish this.

There is also a need to increase our fellowship and unity as a community, and to set up some sort of apparatus in which lay people may make their ideas known and be encouraged to devote themselves to the work of the Church. This will also require formation and respect for their efforts.

One participant mentioned the work that has to be done to change the predominant culture of the world. The primary objective of the council was precisely this, he said, and the leading role in this effort must be taken by the laity, which he then went on to discuss in some detail.

Another participant stressed that all of East Asia has the task of evangelizing North  Korea. Especially in this year of faith, he said, we must not wait for the North to change. We ourselves must change if we are to become the persons the North will need.

At the end of the  symposium the words of encouragement that were expressed reflected the unyielding faith life and strong wills of our ancestors in the faith. They helped to put an end to the separation of the nobles and commoners in our society. Their faith brought about many other beneficial changes in the culture. It is hoped that we will continue this tradition to bring about the changes we would like to see in society today.