Friday, June 27, 2014

Renewal of the Church

The director, a college professor, of the women's subcommittee for the bishops, writes in  View from the Ark of the Catholic Times about their recent questionnaire dealing with women's issues. During the last year, they had the 3rd questionnaire. The first one was conducted in 1995. The results showed that the women were interested in being more active in the workings of the Church. They were obedient and passive and were critical of the priests' role in the management of the parish and would like more of a say in the pastoral councils and the liturgy.

The second  questionnaire of 2004 asked for the training of women leaders and the means to hear their voices both in the parish and at the diocesan level.

In 2013, the result of this last questionnaire was not the same as the past but without big changes. Like in the past the women would like a change in the priests' attitude with more understanding. They have a desire for more fellowship among the parishioners, and more openness to the larger community in which the community exists.

In the last section of the questionnaire, the women were asked what they would like to see the Church do to make their religious life happier and more meaningful. They were asking for the women's subjective feelings on their relations with the parish. They wanted less discrimination between the male and female members, working to improve communication  with the Catholics, a change in the authoritarianism and reigning over the Catholics,  better preparation of the sermons, more humility and simplicity in lifestyle; they singled out participating in expensive sports, too much drinking, and associating with a small number of believers. They wanted to see renewal, a deeper spirituality, and the formation of priests  they respect. The number-one desire on the part of  the women was a  change in their priests' attitude, and renewal of life.

In a recent survey of all the Catholics on the occasion of the pope's visit to Korea, 98 percent wanted to see a renewal of the Church. A change in the authoritarianism of the clergy that relegated the laity to the periphery.This was the  response of about half of those questioned. One-third had problems with the worldly ways of the Church, pastoral work took second place to administration, neglect of the poor in the work of the Church, the immaturity and individual spirituality of the Catholics, lack of interest in the social Gospel, the separation of results and the internal life: life and religion. The women found that the sexes were not treated the same.

In the questionnaire of 2004 on women's issues, 26.6 percent said that the clergy were not treating the women equally. In the 2013 questionnaire, you had 34.3 percent said that to promote the place of women in the Church it was necessary to deal with the clericalism and patriarchy of the clergy.There was a need to improve the communication between the clergy and the laity.

The writer quotes a priest who said that the pastors   need to  listen more attentively to the needs of the women to enable them to be more enthusiastically involved in the work of the Church. The pastors should be conscious of the needs and desires  of the women in the parishes and reflect this in the administration. The professor concludes with the observation that the results of the  surveys show that the demands of the woman are getting larger, and she wonders if we are  walking without moving.

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