Saturday, April 25, 2020

What Must the Church Do Post Corona 19?

Fortunately, the recent "coronavirus infection-19" in Korea has been slowing down. [Masses resumed on April 23] However, it's still too early to make any predictions for the future. We know what is happening in the West. So begins a feature article in Catholic Times by a pastor with a doctorate who taught in the seminary and now is a pastor in Inchon. He looks over the past history of Europe with Asian eyes.

The article is titled "Civilization and Disease and the Path of Humanity and the Church" and uses the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the role the Church must play to overcome post-Corona 19 problems.

The Plague (Black Death) ended the Middle Ages and gave birth to modernity. The enormous contagion caused the loss of much of the European population, which in turn accelerated the fall of the manorial economy and serfdom. Besides, the religious authority that had ruled the Middle Ages collapsed when high-ranking priests fled the Black Death. Until the Black Death, Europe was controlled by the Catholic Church and the feudal aristocracy. They not only dominated the territory and possessed wealth but even controlled all information and knowledge. The weakness and confusion of the ruling and clerical classes gave way to a longing for a new era. This chaos in the church was the trigger for the Renaissance to bloom.

The reformation was an internal movement for church reform. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, a priest of the Augustinian Order, announced the 95 articles of refutation: "Only with the Bible only with grace, only with faith." It was a movement that tried to reform the churches and institutions that were collapsing at that time. As the feudal society gradually collapsed after the Crusades, the development of commerce changed the structure of society as the agricultural economy moved to a commercial economy. With the advent of nationalism, churches in Spain and France came under the rule of the state, and the decrease of the authority of the papacy accelerated church reform. Powerful monarchs appeared in France, England, and Spain, forcing nobles to serve the entire nation. The monarchs of these countries felt the need to restrain the power of numerous feudal lords and senior clergy, who owned vast amounts of land.

Descartes (1596-1650), father of modern philosophy, said: "I think therefore I am" (Cogito ergo sum). 'God' who was at the center of philosophy (Deus) disappeared and "I" (Ego) appeared and the beginning of modern thought and the French Revolution (1789 ~ 1799). At the time of the French Revolution, about 2% of the total 25 million people in the country, comprised the first estate, and second estate: Catholic clergy and the nobles owned half of the entire country, and most of the important positions, exempt from taxes, and lived in luxury. On the other hand, most citizens, 98% of them, had to pay heavy taxes. Obviously, the target of the French Revolution was aimed at the feudal dynasty and the Catholic Church.

Citizens shouted "freedom," "equality," and "philanthropy" and attacked the Catholic Church, symbolizing the Ancien RĂ©gime (old system) and desiring to destroy the icon of the old system.  The revolutionary leaders, the Jacobin, closed the monasteries, confiscated church property and arrested, imprisoned, exiled and executed some 40,000 Catholic priests. After that, the Catholic Church was lost. Since 1794, France has reached out to the church, and the church has partially normalized.

In France, the power of religion declined irreversibly, the authority of the church was weakened, and the secularization of the state became self-evident. The separation of state and religion in 1905 completed the secularization. During World War II, the Church experienced utter helplessness and incompetence. The church was not united against the Nazis. People who were dissatisfied with the church that had turned away from the changes in the world left the church, and as a result, the Catholic Church in Europe was greatly weakened.

The 2nd Vatican Council opened on October 11, 1962, and closed on December 8, 1965. The main value was to change the Catholic Church in a way that would respond to modern times.

The church changed its attitude towards the world, born again, recognizing the mistakes and deficiencies of the past and desiring to see the world as a partner on the road to salvation. By improving the system in which all powers are concentrated on one person, to "solidarity" a community response to the work that was entrusted to the church. Salvation was possible outside the church and the council acknowledged that various religions and ideas in the world contained truth, were ideas that were developed.

Humanity is now facing a global crisis. Probably the biggest crisis of our generation. Corona 19 won't go away easily. Now we just have to plan the world to live with the coronavirus. The new world has already come and faced the question, "What life will we live now?" At the end of the Corona 19 pandemic, the world will not be the same as before, and Corona 19 will completely change the world's political, economic, cultural, and religious order.

The Catholic Church has more than half the hospital beds in the country and the best medical units with state-of-the-art medical facilities and equipment and the world's best medical staff. And the Catholic Social Welfare Society manages numerous welfare facilities and organizations nationwide. Numerous priests and religious are struggling at the medical and social welfare sites. The church needs to ask for more active solidarity from the world in this crisis. The writer would like to see the Church take a more active roll in helping those that are hurting from the situation in society because of the virus. With the empty churches without liturgy, they could be used for various works to prepare for the future.

The crisis is a risk, but it is also an opportunity. The Catholic (universal) church must play a significant role in the global response to global disease, global warming, and climate crisis, emergencies now faced by global citizenship, and work towards global solidarity. We need to promote, educate, and act to deal with the violence that is nurtured by neoliberalism's control of the world's finances. The Swedish teenage girl is moving around the world with her message. What is the Catholic Church saying as a "universal," Church with its vast and powerful organization and funds worldwide? He is sad that the church is not as active as it should be in preparing the world for the future.

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