Monday, May 19, 2014

Gazing Horizontally Instead of Vertically

Recently, in one of the daily papers, a foreign visiting professor has been quoted as saying Koreans have a dual personality. He is considered a world authority within the medical community, and told the foreigner who was replacing him what his image of Koreans was. A priest writing for a pastoral bulletin uses this article to speak about a very important issue in society and the Church, and quotes the words of the professor.

"Koreans are very friendly. However, if you think that is their personality you would be mistaken. They are excessively kind  to the powerful and the famous but to those who are weak, and those they  consider weaker  than themselves, they can be surprisingly arrogant and proud. When in a restaurant, the way they treat the help, the higher their  place on the social scale the ruder they are. Humanely speaking I don't want to associate with them."

We all have the dignity of our humanity and should respect this in all whom we meet. However, rather than accepting all as equals we see the power and the wealth. A person's wealth and place in society are what is considered important. In this kind of society, there are many who feel inferior and lack joy. Even those who are flawless  have a difficult time within this society.

Within the Church, we also have clerics who enjoy the company of the wealthy and hear often that the poor are having  difficulty in coming out to the church. These priests who associate with the wealthy are not in any way rejecting the poor, but the lack of concern for the poor, and the associating with the rich is sending a message to them that hurts and alienates.

In Europe, we have the case in France and Italy where during the industrial revolution, the workers were not a concern for the Church, and because of the alienation they left, while in the United States, there was a concern, and we did not lose them like in Europe.

We have the example of Jesus, who associated with all the different segments of society and was criticized for this by the leaders.  We need to stay close to the poor for when  the poor no longer find a place within the Church it means the Church has distanced itself from Jesus.

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