Saturday, April 1, 2017

Religious Vocation Crisis In Korea

The religious vocation crisis in the west was a topic of discussion for many years, but now we have the same problem facing the Korean church.

A religious sister, a high school teacher, writes in the Kyeongyang magazine on the issue. According to the Catholic Peace Network in 2013 we had 11,734 religious. At  present comparing with the past this was an increase of 74.1% for the men religious and 48.6 % for the women. When we look at the statistics all seems rosy but the reality is different.

In comparison to 1994 the number of men religious preparing for vows decreased 41 % and the women has decreased 67%. Over half of the religious orders have no one in formation.

This is not simply a problem in the church for the reasons affects all of society. The signs of the times are not only confined to the church.

Pope Francis at the end of the year of the Consecrated Life in his talk to the religious stressed the three pillars of the religious life: prophecy, proximity and hope. The pope is telling people that there is a path to happiness and grandeur, a path that fills you with joy. If we lived this life would the crisis end?

The sister has talked to many of the young who are not interested in the religious life. They have little knowledge of the spiritual life and living in a complicated world. We don't only have a crisis of vocations but a crisis of society. What are we to do?

We live in a time where values are missing. How am I to live? This is the guide for life. They are surrounded with materialism, invited to find ways to make money. They are absorbed in finding employment, make money and be a big class consumer. Is there any thought of the kind of person they want to be? Asking the young what they want to be is a dangerous question.

The pope speaks about the prophetic life.This is not difficult for it requires saying no when a no is required and yes to a required yes. We need to be strong in our quest for truth. We are  prepped to look for success, results. Society, she says, sees us as means to achieve goals and when not needed discarded as a spare part. In her own teaching profession she wonders how much her own encounters with the students are person to person.

She concludes the articles by telling the readers that we should not concentrate on the problems or be obsessed with the numbers entering the religious life but to be hopeful and remember that we are to work in the building of Christ's kingdom. Isn't this for a Christian, the reason for the creation of the world, the reason we are here. How we are to live is the decision that follows on this.

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