Our society continues with unrest and conflicts: discontent, candlelight demonstrations, and 'hate speech' increases. Facing the difficulties that come with the uncertainties in life, tied to our own experiences and beliefs, especially in political matters. In democratic societies, the constitution guarantees the right of the people to freely express their views and opinions, but it is necessary to reflect on truth and the righteousness of our claims. In the Eyes of the Believer column of the Catholic Times a priest, sociology professor, gives us his thoughts on the subject.
Democracy in modern society has been formed in solidarity and struggle by the citizens to voluntarily and independently create a "better society" against the inhuman repression and exploitation when the king alone ruled. Therefore, 'citizen consciousness' in modern society has grown along with progress in society towards the universal values of freedom, equality and fraternity.
If we are caught in the web of ideology from the past: cold war, anti-communism and remain with what was imposed from the past and afraid to leave the failed formulas and old time mistakes we are not citizens with public awareness of our present reality. What is it that we mean by free citizen participating actively in society?
First, do we follow truth and sincerity in freedom? Manipulation, distortion, and forced news spreading on SNS or YouTube is not 'truth'. "Yes if you mean yes, no if you mean no" the words of Jesus have something to tell us in these times when truth seems hidden.
Confucius said— If a person disobeys the dictates of heaven, the words he uses will be tainted, and will spoil the work done— When we look back on our history and without proof blame the problems here in the South on the North and spread this and use it in what we say and write we are giving up our freedom as responsible citizens.
Second, are we seeking the "common good"? Does self-interest, political party concerns, undermine our concern for the common good. The Korean Christian Association's own historical interpretation wants the president to retire, they want to make a Protestant President in their not all objective understanding of the present situation. According to the study of sociologists, social conflicts have been amplified because of the religious polarization when the Protestant was president in Korea.
Third, does our love for our fellow citizens especially the "marginalized and poor" have priority? The people under the monarchy took for granted hierarchical governance and structural inequality.The privileged paid close attention to maintaining their ownership and vested rights. Despite the collapse of the Catholic Church, which represented the order of the ruling class in the French Revolution, as the religion of the country: God did not forget the poor and marginalized citizens but progress continued in pursuit of love of humanity. Today, as polarization and the gap between the rich and the poor gets worse, the way to pursue solidarity so that the dignity of the poor is respected in the social structure becomes a compass for civic consciousness.
Fourth, people often like to return to the past which they think was full of honor and pride. Today, young people are not tied to the nostalgia of the past, and when grown-ups admonish them they are considered out of it and bullies.Without the proper understanding of the times it is difficult to access the agony and need of the young people, the protagonists of the future. We will be a citizens of a heavenly country when we take a step away from the comfort and convenience of the old generation and acquire the future-oriented values and the viewpoint of the future so that our children and future generations will live happily and fully in the common house of mankind.
The Second Vatican Council proclaims the people of God as the center of ecclesiology, ahead of the hierarchical church. However, the people of God are not only those who obey the orders of the state and the church but also the children of God who actively perform their roles as priest, prophet and kingly roles in everyday life. In addition to the Holy Spirit, it is the 'citizens' who contribute to building of God's kingdom. "Let all Christians appreciate their special and personal vocation in the political community. This vocation requires that they give conspicuous example of devotion to the sense of duty and of service to the advancement of the common good" (Pastoral Constitution, #75)