Monday, August 5, 2013

Preparations for the Eventual South and North Unification

The current thinking within the Catholic Church concerning unification of the country is to promote efforts that will ultimately achieve unification. Among many citizens, however, both Catholic and non-Catholic, there is little interest, and perhaps even apathy on the part of those who remember the past and have suffered due to the policies of the North. The Catholic Church, in order to influence the thinking of Catholics, will have to enlist the help of the parishes, say those who know the situation the best, and without this help, they say little can be accomplished.

The Catholic Times introduces us to some of the efforts being made today. The Church sees a serious need to make Christians, because of their lack of interest, aware of the importance of changing the way they think about the North-South problem. Protestants have been much more concerned for unification, according to the Times, and early on have taken significant steps to achieve unification, while Catholics have done little. The director of the Bishops Committee for Reconciliation is quoted as saying, "One of the Protestant denominations, it was disclosed, has anywhere from 300 to 400 missioners formed, who are now in China waiting. Before we criticize, we have to be involved in the recruiting and training of  missioners for the North."

Fortunately, many young people have shown a willingness, the director went on to say, to go to the North to do missionary work, once freedom of religion is declared.  Young Catholics, ages 20 to 30, have shown a great interest in this area, he said.

Those who have left North Korea and are now in the South will help us reach a better understanding of the North, and they will be the medium, said the Times, needed to provide for future preparations. This is one of the reasons the diocesan committees for reconciliation will be working to support the resettlement of the refugees from the North.
The efforts we are making at present in teaching those interested in Catholicism to enter the Catholic Church is already the beginning of evangelization of the North. The head of the Reconciliation Committee of the Suwon Diocese mentions there are a good number leaving the North who, while in China, were baptized, some coming to Korea and others returning to North Korea. The Church should consider connecting in some way, he suggested, with the dioceses of Jilin and Yanji, in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Province of China.

One university professor stresses the need for education, both in the North and South, that will focus on the importance of working for peace. The Suwon Diocese has started to work on this recommendation with a Pastoral Research Center for Unification that will open on September 8th. The dream is to stir up interest on just what will be required to achieve unification.

They will consider the following areas of study: Prepare a catechism for the refugees from the North; establish an academy to make Christians aware of the need for unification and to prepare programs for the different parishes; establish a Catholic  Research Center open to all for the study of problems with unification; train priests to respond knowledgeably for eventual unification; and to study what will be necessary after unification for the rebuilding of the new society. Prayer is necessary but also well thought-out efforts to carry out these proposals.

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