The Catholic Times sponsored a conversation between Fr. Song and Fr. Park, both with similar positions within Catholicism and Protestantism vis a vis Ecumenicism. Fr. Song gave his ideas on the way Catholicism sees the commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation as did Fr. Park for the Protestant side.
Fr. Song mentions that
Catholics see the Reformation as a wound. The Reformation broke the
unity of the Catholic Church. However, even though the Protestants are
not returning to Catholicism the Church is not unilaterally blaming them
or taking pride in our strength. Catholicism, he says, shares part of the blame
for the break in unity.
Fr Park mentions from the
beginning there was not the division in Christianity. In the latter part
of the 4th Century when Christianity became the Empire's Religion the
Church began to consolidate itself. Eastern Christianity in the years
before and after the tenth century began to break away from Roman
Christianity and 500 years later the Protestant leave, making for the
big three divisions of Christianity.
Protestant denominations, Fr. Park continues, need to see what
separates us from the teachings of Catholicism before the break,
examples would be the issue of justification, examining the teachings on
salvation, the place of tradition, and discover again the place of
Scripture and understanding the organizational setup.
These have been
the points of dispute and they need to be seen with our present day
insights. The different denominations have to determine if we have
correctly followed the insights of the Reformation. It is both a
commemoration and a self-examination. These are the two keywords for our
Fr. Song agrees with Fr. Park. The
commemoration should be more than remembering the Reformation.
Catholicism needs to continually reform to be the church that Jesus wanted. Need to face the divisions, and begin to talk with each
other, cooperate and look for what unites.
This is a
good time to get rid of our prejudices and understand how each of us
understands our different positions. For the Catholic, the Reformation
was a serious wound but it can also be an opportunity to understand the
why and the way we need to go as church.
The mission that we have at this time in history is to become one says Fr. Park, which means we need to talk and understand each other, this in truth has been going on for some time. In Europe the results have come out in books.
the States the Lutherans and Catholics have been talking since 1960.
Fr. Park makes clear that it is a long journey but in Korea we are
formed to be in a hurry.
Fr.Song agrees that to heal the division we need to travel a long journey. As with bad habits, it takes more time to get rid of them then to
Before the Second Vatican Council
(1962-1965) the Catholic Church was a lone ranger, triumphantly
disparaging Protestantism. However, the church has realized that it has
been sent to the world as a sign of joy of Gospel unity.
Today's situation is a tremendous obstacle to evangelization. Jesus' prayer: "That we all be one" from John 17-21 should always be the goal. We now see the Protestants as separated brothers and sisters.
Prejudices, and misunderstandings need to go. A need to pray together, and aim for the common good. Look for what unites us and accept the things that separate us to work towards unity.