Thursday, May 7, 2015

Fighting Against the Temptation to Ignore the Past

Korean Catholics are faced with the temptation to consider their inheritance from the past dismissively. An article in the Kyeongyang magazine by a professor of ethics laments to see Catholicism changed  by our environment and  society: diminishment of the  passion once had for the faith, and  a shadow on the  future of the church.

We see the results of this in our examination of the situation in the church. Surveys have showed repeatedly the change of  spiritual practices, and behavior, and values of Catholics. A Gallup survey recently showed the way the parishioners see  divorce, abortion and homosexuality are very similar to those who have no belief.  In 1984, 57 % said  they prayed  at least once a day but in 2014 this decreased to 30 %. In 1984, 11 % said they never opened the Scriptures while last year it was 30%.

In the past  traditional religious ways and authority  were a powerful force in society. Many considered religion shackling us to ways that took away our freedom. Love, mercy, filial affection, sacrifice, and  the like, are values that society no longer admires. Rather today it is efficiency, and modernity, non-traditional  and non-authoritarian values, that are supported and admired.

What is important is the here and now, and not the next life. Happiness now is what is wanted. More important than faith is health, present pleasure; they prefer material and bodily values which are a challenge to religion. More important than the spiritual is the  body. Old moral standards are burdensome  measurements, and the relics from the past.

Individual likes and dislikes are important. If it suits me it is good, and if not it is evil. Consequently, society, virtue, citizens' understanding, common good, politics and family have deteriorated. Technology is favored, consciences are numbed,  consolation is sought, meaning of life disappears. Economics are elevated, virtue has retreated, sex is everywhere and love misunderstood, pleasure has increased and joy lessened.

We as Christians are forced to act as Christians. What does that mean?  In this world living according to the Gospel is extremely difficult, and we try to rationalize, but we need to keep on teaching what is the true meaning of religion. We have to keep on fighting against those who are building this virtual reality and  fantasy world, and oppose them, and expect the mockery that will come like that received by Noah in building the ark.