Sunday, April 9, 2017

Discovering A New Pastoral Paradigm

South Korea is a small country with an excellent transportation system with easy access to all parts of the country. Internet communication network is one of the fastest and connects with most of the homes: ideal to spread information. Obviously, this is both a plus and a minus for not all the information is for the good.

Moreover, Korea is still a very culturally homogeneous country which makes the evangelization work of the bishops' easier than in other countries. An editorial in the Catholic Times is asking the bishops to look for a new approach to the pastoral work of the Church. The reason mentioned is that we have opposite realities facing the church.

In the many studies and questionnaires of the pastoral research institutes made over the years, they have determined that the biggest problem is the secularization and privatization of a person's religious beliefs. Much of the teaching of the Church is not accepted by the faithful. What follows is that we have a distancing from the community of faith with the majority living on the peripheries.

The editorial goes on to say in contrast we do have a small group that is living a deeper spirituality with a greater understanding of the Christian tradition and a maturer faith life. They are freed from the secularization of society and not following the crowd.

Those who are secularized and those who are not, are the two opposing groups within the church. The minority are those with the essential teaching of the church and the other group which is the larger are on the peripheries with a pluralistic understanding of their religious belief not in harmony with the traditional teaching which polarizes the community of faith. This group will increase.

We have three possibilities opened to the Korean community of faith. Satisfaction with the loyalty of the minority, accepting the situation and continue as in the past. Secondly, concern for the majority on the periphery with programs addressed for them, helping them to enter the community of faith from the peripheries. Or thirdly, uncover the reasons for the division within the Church and work to present the teaching in a way that we don't have the division we have presently.

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