"Won't I be eating insults...Won't I be hurt and scared...Won't I have less time?" were the typical answers to the question: What did you fear the most when becoming a member of the parish council? It is for such reasons that many refuse to participate in these councils intrusted with managing the pastoral activities of the parish.
An article and editorial in
the Peace Weekly examine the problems likely to be faced by parish
councils, which by canon law should be advisory groups, but which are
actually the decision makers (though still in conformity with canon law)
in many parishes because of the pastoral orientation of the priest. A
good sign, says the editorial, that councils are reflecting the wishes
of the parishioners.
However, there are parishes where the pastor
and council are not working together. Sometimes the pastor arbitrarily
makes his own decisions without consultation, irritating the council,
and sometimes the parish council goes ahead without consulting with the
pastor, even against the wishes of the pastor. The council also
occasionally does not present the opinion of the parishioners to the
pastor, and sometimes the council is in conflict with the parishioners.
this reason, there are many who do not want to serve on the council. If
they do well they will suffer, if they don't do well they will be
insulted. There are also members of the council who treat it like a
government position, and some who use it to further their own business
interests. Obviously not the proper motivations for a Christian.
help pastoral council members adapt, understand, and find satisfaction
in their work, the Seoul diocese has devised a study and training
program for new members. At the beginning of the program, they were
told that more important than the work are the people involved and their
relationship with one another. With this in mind the work would be more
Several factors, however, needed to be
addressed to achieve the goal: maintain an interest in others, keep
promises, take the lead, praise and encourage, be generous in
recognizing and supporting others. There will be another meeting at the
end of this month for this first group appointed to their parish
hopes this initiative for improving the quality of pastoral work will
spread throughout the Korean Church.