Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Results of Pope's Visit to Korea

After the visit of the pope to Korea we have been looking to see what sprouts have begun to appear within the Church. A recent seminar wanted to know what we can expect from the visit as seen by a priest, sister, and a layperson. An article in the Catholic Times gives a synopsis of the talk of each of the participants.

The priest mentioned the centrality of the clerical in the make-up of the Church: this needs to be addressed for a reformation. The original understanding of Church,he said, was for the pope and bishops to  deepen the faith life of the Christians, giving them hope and to energize them for renewal of the world in which we live. The aim is to extend the kingdom of God, to spread the faith and not a place where we make our last will and testament to pass on our treasures. We want to have a deeper relationship with God: sharing among ourselves, a desire to learn, question and resolve our doubts; the lack of communication is a problem .

Justice and mercy are two concerns of  our Christian  life but there is no reason to discuss which is prior, for they are tied together. To be only interested in love and forgetting justice is a  temptation we face.  Without concern for justice, he says, and thinking love is all that is  necessary, we deceive ourselves.

The renewal of the Church requires a change in the structures of administration and culture. Secondly, make our Catholic identity clear, a need to  change our discipline to achieve unity. Thirdly, a need to deepen our religious life, which will require effort from our leaders and more openness. He feels there is a need to change the culture of our priests to a more Gospel based culture.

The sister reminds us that without a change in the way we looked upon a great many of the habits of the past in our religious life we will not have change.When the  religious orders in the past were faced with a crisis they  were able to change:  because of the strong impact this made on the religious. Religious were not under the organizational system of the Church which gave them more freedom. When difficulties arose the religious walked with God as their companion which was the hallmark of the religious.

Religious are the first to face the crisis and react to it. They are the prophetic voice against the unhealthy individualism, and against the accommodation with the times, and open to a greater courage to overcome the difficulties.

The layperson mentioned the Church has not been concerned with the poor but with external growth. We have become a middle class  community for fellowship which makes change difficult. He looks around and sees much that goes contrary to the image of the Church that the pope stressed in his visit.  The lay people are by far the largest segment of the Church and wants them to take the message to heart and work for its implementation.

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