Saturday, October 8, 2016

Working For Christian Unity

Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and during two days at the end of September, an academic meeting of scholars from many different branches of Christianity met together to discuss the issues raised by the reformation both the light and the darkness.

It was a two-day meeting with three topics: reformation for renewal, reformation for unity and  reformation for reformation. The participants were  aiming for unity from division by means of theology and dialogue.

The president of the Korean's Conference of Catholic Bishops gave the opening talk at the meeting that was sponsored by Sogang University. The bishop in his opening remarks mentioned that in Korea Catholics and Protestants should not talk about what separates  but what we hold in common. We need to talk about our common patrimony, meditate and  pray together.

He mentioned that  both the Protestants and Catholics have instead of forgiving one another, accepting and working for unity we have been condemning each other. What is different from what we hold is wrong and have disparaged the other. We should not wait for results on unity from the West but work toward unity and and be an incentive to  the rest of the world.

One of the participants stressed the role of the 'Sensus Fidei' (sense of the faithful) in the work for unity within Christianity. We have to learn the way we express this feeling toward the faith in our faith life.  

A Protestant  participant mentioned the need of the Church to be evangelized if we are to evangelize the world. We have to find ways to reform the churches. He mentioned the need to criticize the 'three Solas': by faith alone, by  grace alone, and only by  Scripture. We need to return to the early church and the small church communities. The capitalist ethos that has entered the church makes this movement to the small difficult.

Over half the population of Korea: Christians and Buddhist are the majority and their influence on the country is not small.  Christians number about one-third of the population. They have been formed in a community by Jesus to be one but we  have  inflicted wounds on the community and with a lack of understanding, conflict, and division, have also infected the larger society in its  lack of harmony and reconciliation.

In conclusion a priest from Sogang Theological Research Center hopes this little flame from the Academic meeting will help us to be more in touch with the teachings of Jesus and to work for unity.

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