Monday, November 30, 2015

Church of Mercy Needs Renewal

Pope Francis has proclaimed  an extraordinary Jubilee with mercy at the center. He wants us to live the Holy Year of Mercy starting on Dec. 8th which will continue to the Feast of Christ the King of 2016, remembering the Lords words: Be merciful, just as you Father is merciful (Lk. 6:36). Yesterday, we began our liturgical new year with the first Sunday of Advent and Mercy is the theme. 

A seminar, sponsored by the Catholic Pastoral Research Center, and written up in the Peace Weekly  reflects on the work ahead. They wanted to study the direction the Church should be going with the new evangelization in connection with the teachings of  Vatican II which ended 50 years ago. Hope was expressed that we will have a new turning point within the Korean Church for they all agreed that the implementation of the Council left a lot to be desired.

In the  keystone address the previous head of the bishops' Conference stressed Pope Francis' vision for a synodal Church at every level with everyone listening to each other, learning from each other and taking responsibility for proclaiming the Gospel. The bishop mentioned the need to listen to the people and be companions with them in their struggles.   

One of the participants mentioned we don't see mercy expressed in society, and in our culture but neither is it prevalent within the church. Another mentioned the need to understand two words collegiality and synodality if we want to bring about renewal.

Another participant listed the assignment the Church of Korea has to implement: to see the signs of the time and prepare for it pastorally; concern for the weak, the common good, and seeking peace; renewal and dialogue with the world, efforts to change the way we do politics, finances and the culture is our prophetic call. These are the elements that have come from the Second Vatican Council.

This kind of reformation will require a great deal of effort in the local areas of the Church. In  recent years we have had Synods in many of the dioceses which were meant to renew the local church but it was like the listing of problems and tasks  as they would be in an encyclopedia without priorities, and follow ups. We need targets and priorities, if we want to see change.

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