One of the dioceses recently had a symposium on pastoral work. Written up in the Catholic Peace Weekly with the headline: "Peace of mind is desired but church work—well, let me think about it!"
The hearts of believers are ready to receive service in the manner of customers. Service of others is difficult and they want to be at peace. Participants wondered whether the church is doing its part in inviting the laypeople to get involved.
Up until the eighties, the church's mission was to enter the world and change it but gradually the world was seen as secularizing the church. This year is the Jubilee year of the laity; a desire to speak about the age of change and awakening of the laity. Are the laity living with the joy of the gospel?
One participant mentioned 5 issues which are obstacles for the laity:(1) low priority of the religious life in daily living (2) relationships with others not one of the values (3) individualistic spirituality (4) anti-intellectualism (5) weakening of the family bonds.
Another participant mentioned motivation behind faith life is weakening. Our 'bellies and mouth' and lack of concern for peace of the world was listed. Believers are looking for peace and joy of the gospel but not finding it. In his opinion, the greatest obstacle to growth in spirituality is being confined by one's own personal understanding and interest of what is required—isolated from others.
In the panel discussion, one person mentioned the tendency of the parish priests to curb the activities of parish groups according to the whims of the priests. A desire for more autonomy of the parish groups was expressed. In the education of the believers, it was hoped that a special parish could be designated where this could be carried out.
The results of a survey made among the leaders of the diocese on consciousness: 82% said the president of the parish council was chosen by the priest, as to the qualities necessary—getting along with the pastor.
The biggest problem seen by the leaders of the diocese was the members who have left the community of faith and how to get them to return 66%. Re-education of the Catholics was 52%. Education of the young 47% and renewal of the clergy 32%. Overall, the Korean Church's greatest problem was the passivity of the laity 49%; 32 % felt it was the falling away of the Catholics.