Friday, July 17, 2015

Church Needs to Remain Humble

Catholicism has for the last 25 years compared to other religions, the greatest amount of trust  among  citizens in the surveys that are made by different groups in Korean society. In an article in Now/Here (Catholic-news) the writer reviews the contents of the surveys for readers and gives us his opinion.

He mentions some red lights that are seen and one of them would be in comparison to other religions Catholicism does have more trust but not in comparison to other organizations in society. Citizen organizations have 27.8 percent public confidence, second is the press with 10.6 percent, and religion is 3rd, with 9.2 percent, and the writer says this is continuing to fall.

Women had a higher rate of confidence in Catholicism than men. Those in their 50s had the highest index of confidence when comparing ages, and 32.7 percent of unbelievers had the highest rate of confidence, and the  more education the higher the level of confidence in Catholicism.

The writer mentions the confidence level will not change in the near future but he gives  five reasons why this confidence in Catholicism in comparison to the other religions in society could change overnight.

First, he  doesn't believe the confidence is directed to Catholicism but rather a lack of confidence in the other religions. Once the other religions make some positive changes and portray a different image the relative ascendency of Catholicism will change.

Secondly, the Church can continue to weaken its strong points. Unity has been one of the images of the Church. Protestantism is seen with their many divisions, and Buddhism with their religious factions fighting with each other, something the Koreans did not see in Catholicism. On the other hand with the democratic movement in society, and the Church's authoritarianism, we see a negative response by some.

Unity as a strong point is no longer what it was. When we have dissent being expressed within the institution, the unity becomes weakened.Within the conference of bishops we have agreement and some bishops speaking,and behaving differently from what was decided. We have groups like the Patriotic Catholics for Korea which don't care for some of the directions the Church is taking. We have the Justice and Peace Priests not always understood, and some devotional groups that speak differently on traditional teaching. All these will be seen as  disunity and lower the confidence of the public in the Church.

Sex scandals that became known in the States was a great problem. We have some Catholics who with some Protestants have an unfriendly attitude to other religions. Sex scandals and financial corruption in works of welfare given to the Church by the government, and bankruptcy will all lower the trust in the Church.

Thirdly we have the possibility of seeing the Church as overly strong and pushing its might on society. Fourthly, not continuing their work of service for society as in the past. Our religious are getting older and retiring from their work and they are not being replaced which will make a difference in the way society looks upon the Church. Fifthly, we have the way society looks upon the Vatican: at present it is very positive but like Europe it could change.

As was mentioned in the beginning the confidence that religion has in society is 10 percent points lower than  citizens' groups. The Gallup poll that was made in 2014 mentioned that religions over the last 30 years continue to get criticized and the writer reminds the Church to be humble  and keep a low profile.

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