What is the Church? A priest who worked as a missioner in South American tells the readers in his article in the Kyeongyang magazine the answer he heard most often on the missions: "We are the Church," and wonders whether Korean Catholics would express it this way.
Since the II Vatican Council we see the Church not as a vertical structure but as a horizontal People of God Church. No longer seeing the laity as passive, receiving orders but active, conscious of their rights and duties. "These faithful (laity) are by baptism made one body with Christ and are established among the People of God. They are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly functions of Christ. They carry out their own part in the mission of the whole Christian people with respect to the Church and the world" (Constitution of the Church # 31).
In many of our parishes we have divisions and conflict: an authoritarian attitude on the part of the priest, and disinterest on part of the laity."In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the
immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional.
What is real gives way to appearances" (Joy of the Gospel # 62). Many of the Christians are interest only in money and appearances,
The article frankly states that in most situations the laity have no voice in the parish and are to listen to the priests and religious and follow instructions. The structure of the Church, he says, is the reason for this situation and results in passivity. " Many fall prey to it, and
end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified
and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in
the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ (Joy of the Gospel #2).
Conflict between the clergy and the laity can't all be placed with the clergy. Life style of the clergy needs to change but also there is criticism for the sake of criticism, and lack of honesty in dealing with the clergy. With a little more love and religious faith we will have more understanding and friendship.
Small Christian Communities have to be promoted; Christians discussing the work of the Church and their place on the front lines. Priests need to give more example with their lives rather than with words. Laity need a way of being Christian no less than the clergy. Daily life of the laity and their religious life has to be one; they need to begin sharing and experiencing the Gospel message in the parish setting and bring it to the world.