Friday, January 10, 2020

Idée fixe (Fixed Idea) in the Church

In the Eyes of the Believer's Column of the Catholic Weekly, a priest gives the readers his opinion on girl servers at the altar. 

Recently he expressed his thoughts on the subject to a group of parishioners. "Girls may be altar servers until they graduate from elementary school but when they enter middle school should stop." One of the believers answered: "Isn't that discrimination against women?" The priest had always considered himself proud that he had always treated the men and women the same and was sorry by what he had said.

In his former parish, all servers were boys and he reorganized so the girls could serve. It was not only that. On Holy Thursday for the liturgy of the washing of the feet which only the men participated, he changed it to half men and half women. Discrimination continues to appear when there is no reason.
Since then, at the Mass of the Last Supper, men and women have come to the altar and sat in chairs to participate in the ceremonies.

In fact, gender role stereotypes are deeply rooted in the church and are ongoing. In the parish, for example, the pastoral council president and pastoral members are largely male. In particular, the pastoral president is regularly a male. Where the parish pastoral policy is discussed and determined, unconsciously the patriarchal way of thinking that women are inferior to men dominates. Fortunately, if there is a parish where a woman presides as president it often is recognized as a woman president which in its own way is showing discrimination.

Gender discrimination in the church has long been a chronic problem because of insensitivity to sexism. We need to ask ourselves whether there are areas we need to adapt to in this rapidly changing society.

Moreover, these days, if the 'Me-too' movement is spreading in society, and hate crimes against women are widespread, the church needs to be conscious of the way it is perceived by society. Some positions have to be maintained but others do not. For the church to evangelize the world, self-evangelization must first take place. Self-evangelization means self-renewal and change.

Society is very sensitive to sexism. The first issue received by the National Human Rights Commission was about color discrimination. A complaint submitted by a civic group suggests that distinguishing between products for girls and boys according to color violates the human rights of children.

Pink products are introduced for girls and blue products are introduced for boys. The classification of products by gender is a human rights violation according to many in society that enforces gender role stereotypes. In this way, society has come to a situation where it is necessary to sharply point out and even correct unconscious sex discrimination rooted in everyday life.

In this age where travel abroad is easy when Koreans go to a Catholic church, they will compare it with their home church. There are many differences, but the one that stands out is at the communion you have both men and women helping the celebrant to dispense the Eucharist.

In Korea, only men are allowed. When you have programs on sacramental education, only men gather. Someone who participates in a Sunday Mass in a foreign country and has received the Eucharist from a female would ask: "Why does the Korean Church only allow men to dispense the sacrament?'

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