Saturday, April 26, 2014

Preparing for the Visit of Pope Francis

From Buddhist lore, we have a story that comes to Korea from China. At one of the temples when the monks were at their services a cat was out in front of the main hall with its noisy cries. The chief priest of the Buddhist Temple found it difficult to present his teaching, which prompted the monks to take the cat to the back of the temple and tie it to a post during  the services. 

In time, the monks and the cat died, but the tradition  continued. Even when they could not find their cat, they would go to a neighboring village and borrow a cat for the service. The columnist in the Peace Weekly uses this story to show us how powerful an established practice can be. Once that takes hold it is  difficult to discard. Not infrequently convention is followed  more so then the truth, and  the truth is damaged by convention; it is difficult to notice, and it becomes an idol.
Cardinal Yeom when appointed as cardinal, there was a movement among the lay people to prepare an entourage to accompany the cardinal to Rome. There was nothing strange, for this was a custom from the past and a very admirable custom. However, this time the custom was discontinued, because of Pope Francis. An immemorial custom ceased to exist.

Easy to see the power that a leader  has to change the status quo. Destiny makes clear that we can't remain in the past. A good  leader is  one who   leads us  into the future.

Forbes magazine of the United States chose Pope Francis as the world leader with the most influence. The columnist says, however, he is not only a good leader but has transcended the factionalism that we have  and received love and respect far beyond  his own community. In Korea, we say a good medicine is bitter to the lips, and an honest  word hurts the ear. The pope is not always pleasing the populace. He speaks the truth, and still receives the respect of many.

The pope is not changing any of the truths of Catholicism but making a break with the customs that have accrued that are far from the truth. He is making the truths of Jesus appear without our  additions,   fostering  renewal and reformation.

The Pope will be coming to Korea to beatify 124 martyrs. The columnist hopes that we will  in the presence of the other religions  be more humble, and to the whole of society more merciful and just, reconciling and magnanimous. Furthermore, go beyond the boundaries of our community of faith to the poor and the alienated  of society.  Hopefully, not to take the hands of the powerful and the rich, or be concerned with only the inner workings of the Church. He hopes the clergy  will be less authoritarian, and  clericalism will diminish, and they will be less worldly. And gradually he hopes the  Church will be able to weaken the polarization within the Church of the different ideologies that breed conflict....

This was the aim, 50 years ago  at the Second Vatican Council and the meeting 30 years ago of the clergy, religious and the lay people in their pastoral meeting, also the intention of Pope Francis. When this  becomes the  common intention of all, we will be showing our love for the pope.                                                                                                                                                                                    

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