Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Letter to the Priests of Korea

A couple who have been very active within the church community, teaching catechism and living as active Catholics expressed their feeling on the condition of the church published in a bulletin for priests. They were often comforted by what they saw, proud but also disappointed and frustrated by the church community but recently they have seen the very existence of the community fading in society. They expressed their feeling in the following ways.


1. The church should prioritize protecting and supporting the poor and weak who suffer. In particular, to actively present alternatives to the COVID-19 problem.

2. Jesus was always present to the people, explained his teaching with easy parables, and helped the little ones. The priests' sermons are not speaking to the Christians: schematic and formal. In "The Joy of the Gospel," Pope Francis tells the priests to be concerned with their preaching and tell the believers what they need for life.

3. The media, such as church broadcasts and newspapers, must be radically reformed and used as a tool for the social community. At present, the church press is nothing more than consumables, decorations, nothing important to see or hear. They spend a lot of money paying labor, maintaining buildings and equipment. Both the subscription and the listening rate are poor. Even believers are not attracted by the programs—they are not worth seeing, listening, or reading. Even if evangelization was the purpose, it has failed. Compared to other religious broadcasts, it is a truly embarrassing heartbreaking situation.

4.The proud history of the church community with educational materials for adults, including youth needs to be examined. The church in our youth when as a couple attended college, took pride in being a member of the faith community, confirming what the "Catholic Priests' Association for Justice" inherited from the martyrs' teachings, served as the lever of Korean society.

5. The way the structure of the church functions is closed, assertive, and inefficient.


The many laws and structures that have been made according to the needs of the church cannot be ignored. Even when we understand and accept this fact as a believer, our church community is unnecessarily authoritative and oppressive. We must move away from organizational management, obey God, and have a way of behaving that serves the members of the parish community and society.

6. The life of the priests should be an example to the faith community. It requires temperance and simplicity. In his lecture, Cardinal Kim Soo-hwan quoted a worker who said: ''We are to be the salt of the world, but we have turned it into a preservative." The cardinal said it is very doubtful that the Korean church is playing the role of light and leaven to illuminate this society. 

They spoke of the sadness for the church community that they have seen and felt for over 40 years. 


The main contents of this article were extracted from the guidebook <Proclamation and Volunteering> published by the Institute for Pastoral Joy and Hope. This is an appeal and encouragement from a couple of believers to our priests.


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