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.