Monday, June 9, 2014

Ecumenical Forum in Korea

Articles in both Catholic papers recount some of the points that were discussed at the 2014 Ecumenical Forum among Christians this past month. The subject of the forum: "Necessary for Christian unity are faith, practice and spirituality."

This is the first time since the start of the group that they settled on a way of proceeding in the years to come with an agenda: * to associate closely * study together * work together *  pray together.

The president of the Ecumenical Group, Archbishop Kim Hee-jung, chair of the Committee to Promote Christian Unity and Inter religious Dialogue, of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea  said: "We should not only proclaim our faith but work to get some fruits from our interaction. We need to overcome our prejudices and biases and trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit if we want to  see results  from our meetings." 

The Orthodox Archbishop  Ambrosios  said without the unchangeable values of  love and truth, we will not attain unity. A false unity only leads to greater problems.

A priest from the diocese of Inchon said that the big obstacle that we face in inter- religious dialogue is the different misunderstandings we have about dogma  and the faith life. The attachments that we have to our different  denominational viewpoints and the narrow minded understanding in our methods in the study of theology, are the obstacles to the goal of unity. To overcome this we need to make the movement for unity better known, and work to  educate our Christians with  continual theological discussions.

Another priest from the seminary said to make the ecumenical goals known we have to work together as we did in the bazaar in helping the poor: to work together in ecological works, diminish consumption,  problems with women's issues, helping the marginalized in our society, unification of Korea, and the scout movement within society. 

Christians in Korea are doing much to better the relationship that we have with each other. Archbishop Kim Hee-jung, is quoted as saying: “We have the same faith, but along with our lack of concern, we have not hesitated to speak and act exclusively. Let’s pray together and act together to prepare the path that we can walk together, not only for ourselves but for those outside the fence as well.”

However, although as a country, Korea is one of the few countries that has, for the most part, a friendly  interaction between religions and a respect for each other this is not 100 percent. While  this meeting was going on, we had a group of Protestants demonstrating against the ecumenical meeting.

“Roman Catholic is not Christianity. Therefore, it is never possible to look for unity with the Catholic church.” This kind of thinking is not missing in Korea, but hopefully we will see a change  with more understanding of each other and with prayer and study.

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