Friday, June 6, 2014

Thoughts, After the Survey on Pope's Visit to Korea

The editorial team of the Catholic Times reports they spent over two months discussing  the visit of Pope Francis to Korea. They decided to make renewal the topic in preparation for the visit. There are a variety of aspects on the visit, but basically, it can be expressed by evangelization. Using the words that the pope prefers, we are being faithful to the original mission given to the Church by Jesus. This requires renewal and reform on our part.

We prepared a questionnaire on the visit. We wanted to know what the members of the Church felt about the visit. One of the surveys was with the  opinion leaders, persons of  influence  among the priests, religious, and lay people;  the  second survey was of the laity.

The results were very subtle but  there was a difference between the two. The leaders in the Church saw a need for change within the world Church and the Korean Church with percentages of 97 and 98.The ordinary laity, 92  percent were for change within the world Church and 94  percent for change within the Korean Church.

With the leaders in the Church, we had only 28 percent that thought the visit would bring about change.  While among the laity, we had 43  percent that were sure of a change. Comparing with the other areas this was the biggest discrepancy between the two groups.

The Desk Columnists gives two reasons for the differences. Among the leaders in the Church, they thought it too early to make any decisions. Change does not come quickly or with one event. The other reason  is  pessimistic: "This is the way it has been, and we do not see any difference in the will to change, with the visit of the pope can we expect anything else?" This  sarcastic response makes clear the  problem. The pope's visit could be what is needed but without the desire and will for change, nothing will happen.

The Columnist in his work meets many Catholics. "Working within the Church the more they get involved the more likely they are to  lose their religion," is often heard. The more they learn about the Church and  its management, the satisfaction and passion instead of increasing, they become disillusioned and frustrated.  The beginners when they express themselves, hear from their seniors  that is the way it is,  and their  desire for  renewal disappears.  If this is the situation within the Church then, the columnist says, we have  a serious problem.

The pope with his humor and method of operation, can  light the flame for change. However, this requires  it begin with us; the will to bring about change has to be present  in ourselves and the Church. Clearly, we see a need for change. We must begin.The first persons to be out in front are the Bishops and  priests.  If they are unsure of what to do, looking around here and there, without the will for change, then  the road is still far in the distance. To be honest, he says, that is what he feels. Renewal must  begin with the priests....

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