Presently in the Korean Church, we have twenty out of one hundred who are coming to Mass on Sundays. Those who have left the community are called tepid, and reasons for leaving are many. They are listed in surveys and questionnaires that have been made over the years.
We have those who no longer believe and those who need to work or study. Some find confession and the sacramental life difficult. Liturgy has no meaning, and boring. Scars from relating to others in community never heal, fester, and they leave. Money for the building fund, Sunday collections and donations are a burden. Sermons have little meaning. Christian life brings stress. They are disappointed by the behavior and words of priests and religious. These are some of the personal reasons, but a lay theologian in Here and Now Web Site gives us what he feels are the structural reasons for leaving.
First, he sees a lack of preparation in the catechumenate. It is a period of at least six months to a year, but this is not always followed. He gives the example in the military where he has seen that less than one hour of study prepared a person for baptism. Those who are baptized lack the motivation and enter the community for reasons other than a Christian faith life.
Secondly, he sees communities that are made up of core parishioners and the ordinary parishioners. We have those who have been active in church work from an early age who have been hurt and have left. Why should this be the case? Communities should be a place with equality, but we have those who because of merit or wealth become leaders in the community.
There are many who work in the community in many ways of service but are looked upon by the core group as tools, which leaves this group with a feeling of emptiness and lack of belonging.
We have those who enter the community which was not that apparent in the past, mostly not for a desire for a spiritual life but to find and enjoy recognition. They have had high positions in society and enjoyed wealth and seek to enhance their place in society by entering the community. They can offer services to the community that the ordinary Christians can't. They join the core group which further alienates the ordinary parishioners who feel an emptiness.
He mentions the third structural problem is the need to work on Sundays. Many in the community find it difficult to understand why they don't make the effort to attend Mass. This is a lack of understanding of those who need to work on the weekends to support their families, and the church should be concerned with this group for they are not turned off on the church.
Article concludes with a need for more than prayer for these who no longer belong to the community. Prayer can be an excuse for action needed to change our community way of life. We have grown greatly as a community, but we need to concern ourselves with the quality of life in community and not only a core group in the community.