In both Catholic papers we have book reviews of Monsignor Sim Sang-tae's Theology of Inculturation of the Korean Church. [Inculturation is the term used in Catholicism to denote an encounter between the Christian Gospel and a particular culture] Monsignor is the Director of the Research Institute for Korean Christian Thought, and a seminary professor.
preparing for the diaconate in Munster Germany in 1970, and on a
retreat at a monastery in the outskirts of the city where the abbot of
the monastery happened to be Asian: he asked about issues facing the church in Asia, and was quickly answered: What is 禪? This is the
Chinese Character for Seon the Korean variant for Zen.
He, the priest, was a Korean who knew little of his own history and spirituality.
Knew little of his ancestors, and had little interest in their way of
life but knew the thinking in the Middle Ages of Europe. No
knowledge of the Buddhist ascetic practices, and decided from that moment
on to make inculturation his life study.
need not only believe, pray together but to live what we believe.
And to remember we are influenced by Confucianism, Buddhism Taoism
and other cultures. Book contains: Church's teaching, and the concept
of inculturation; direction of inculturation; road taken and the present
reality of inculturation; study of different areas of inculturation.
mentions when persons are interested in becoming Catholic it is
important to show from where they are coming, and the relationship to Catholicism. Similarities and differences will make a person's faith life more
comprehensive and active.
sees the Korean Church as narrow minded and exclusive as the pre-Vatican II Church of the West. He thinks the Church is more Roman
than the Roman Church which he hears as a criticism of the present
church, and warns of the results. We still depend on books
of theology translated from the West and are not open to discussing the
Korean way of thinking, the structures and concepts and influence of
the main religions of Korea on the thinking of Koreans. With
this understanding we can come to a greater knowledge and depth of Jesus' teachings and behavior.
we don't leave this thinking of the West in its world view,
manner of life, and ways of evangelization we will never get far in our
task of evangelizing Asia. We need a new ardor, new methods, new
expressions from the ways of the West.
we are not to follow in the footsteps of the West we have to find ways
to experience what we believe,and to change to a spirituality proper to
out mental make up, and this is what inculturation wants to do.