Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Willingness of the Church to Welcome Criticism

Few are the  countries with such a favorable environment  to examine itself and plan for the future. In preparation for the visit of the pope many are the symposiums, programs, lectures in  preparation  for a renewal, preceded by an honest appraisal of the situation. The Peace Weekly gives us an account of a symposium in Seoul that was attended by over 300. The subject was the  exhortation of  pope Francis: Joy of the Gospel. How do we share this message in a  world with different values? Bishop Mario Toso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council gave the keynote address for  the symposium.

The article begins with the reality  of Korean society. One of the presenters mentioned the  polarization of society. The middle class is being destroyed, and we are seeing new poor. New areas of conflict appear.The Church needs to be with the poor, but the Church has grown with the  advancement of capitalism, and we have become a middle class Church and distanced ourselves from the poor. We have also learned some of the tricks from capitalism not only in the fields of medicine and education, but in another profit ventures. The hierarchical system has become exclusive, and we have a vision for salvation that is individualistic, a worldly spirituality seeking comfort.

Economy excludes; money has become an idol, immoral investment practices; violence from  a growing inequality makes a need to work to achieve the blue print given to us by pope Francis.  Another speaker spoke about the need to not be excessively  concerned with our internal pastoral issues, but to go out to the world. We need to be with  those who are hurting.

Joy of the Gospel gives us directions to become a poor Church and  in search of the common good for society. Jesus is the example of the one who loved all his brothers and sisters, searching for justice, peace and the dignity for all.

In the address by Bishop Toso, he  quoted from Joy of the Gospel: "People in every nation enhance the social dimension of their lives by acting as committed and responsible citizens, not as a mob swayed by the powers that be. Let us not forget that responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation."

The Church's need for renewal requires, said one of the speakers, to open the  doors of our churches, go in search of people, open ourselves up to the persons who are hurting in society. The first step in evangelization is to have the mind of God and to hear the voices of the people. Since half of the Catholics are not practicing we have to go in search of them. We have to listen to the words of Scripture and become prophetic in our lives.

The article concludes with a  paragraph on what is needed to become a Church of the poor: a spirituality of poverty. One of the speakers criticized the appearance of the Church being with the poor, but that is not the reality of the middle class Church we have made. To be a  Church of the poor we have to give of our personnel, our money in the work for the poor. It requires said another, for ourselves to have a spirituality of poverty, which will  motivate us to get involved in the work of the poor and those who are alienated from society.

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