Friday, May 13, 2016

Catholic Spirituality in Korea

Writing in the Peace Weekly the columnist, a professor of spirituality, ends his 50-week  series on spirituality and feels academically speaking, it is still a subject that is not well understood in Korea.

Christianity has a history of 230 years but for the first 100 years, it was persecuted. Up until 1950, our society was in great unrest. Catholics, for the most part, did their duties and had little time for anything else. It was with the opening of the Second Vatican Council that in the 1960s, we saw growth and activity in the mission of the Church.

At this time, we had according to the teaching of the council begun educating in scriptural studies and our tradition. Persons were studying scripture and theology; programs were started for the laity with the impetus from the Council.

With an increase in the number of  priests in the  20th century even though they were attending Mass in Latin, parishioners were praying the rosary and memorizing their prayers; up until the end of the 20th century, there were no big problems in the  spiritual life of the Catholics.

In the last part of the 20th century, he says we saw indications of heterodoxy which the Vatican pointed out, and we had a movement within the church to train specialists in spirituality. However, since we started late there are many issues that have to be faced.

Books  published in the past were well written, moved the emotions: essays and miscellaneous writings but few were written on spiritual scholarship or the spiritual classics.  In Korea, we have many spiritual  classics that were popular before the Protestant Reformation translated into Korean but not well-known to our Catholics.  

Efforts are needed to  introduce Catholics to a mature spirituality and church authorities should help with  finances. Living the spiritual life does not mean we ignore the study of spirituality.  

His opinion is that we do not separate spirituality from Systematic Theology and make it only a part of Practical Theology as is done in Korea. St. Thomas Aquinas considered Spirituality a part of Systematic Theology.

Ideas in our heads are going to end up in our actions. When we do not have a foundation in spiritual theology,  we will often lose our way, and our spiritual life suffers. We will not have love, peace and joy to motivate us to give ourselves to Jesus' mission.

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