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A REFLECTION ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN KOREA
By Gregory Chu
August 6, 1999

I think that a major problem in the Church in Korea is sacrilegious Communion. There seem to be so many people who have neither faith in nor respect for the Eucharist, and receive Communion in the state of sin. The reasons must be that people have not been clearly taught that the Eucharist is truly Jesus, and also that they are too proud to worship the Eucharist, which looks like bread, as the Lord. They have not been properly educated in distinguishing between serious sins and venial sins, either. In many parishes, it is not easy to make a Confession. On the bulletin it says that Confession begins half an hour before Mass, but actually it may begin just a few minutes before Mass. Neglect of Confession undoubtedly has been related to the widespread indifference toward the Eucharist.

Another problem in the Church in Korea is abortion. Many Catholics also do it. I donít know what is going to happen to this country. The fact that Korea remains divided between the North and the South and continues to experience many disasters may be related to the large number of abortions. (Statistics show that more than a half of pregnancies end in abortion in South Korea as well as in North Korea, Japan, China, and Russia.) The devil is using abortion as a most effective tool to drive this country to total disaster.

In Catholic churches, we seldom hear strong sermons against abortion. We only infrequently hear remarks against abortion as a matter of principle. Protestants say that they are against it, but seem to have no qualms about doing it. Buddhists donít even care. I believe that one major reason why Korea has suffered so much from invasions in its history has been that its people have had a long tradition of abortions. Confucianism does not warn against abortion. Some of the Buddhists refrain from eating meat out of their respect for life, but they are not against abortion. The Catholic Church has a powerful doctrine against abortion, but Catholics are a small minority in Korea. Besides, many Catholics seem more interested in new theologies than in opposing abortion. Many of the young Catholics in Korea are in favor of abortion. How serious the responsibility of the priests would be from Godís standpoint!

Nowadays, oriental religious practices such as meditation and "ki" (energy) are spreading like a plague. They are closely related to the renewal movement within the Catholic Church. They are also very closely related to the New Age movement. Recently, in a major Catholic seminary, a nun brought a mok-tak (a wood block used in Buddhist temples) to her class and invited her students to begin a Buddhist-style meditation. People seem to be willing to sacrifice unity with God for the sake of unity with other religions. Under the guise of generosity that encourages giving up mine and accepting the ways of othersí, people are neglecting the Heritage of Faith in the holy Catholic Church. It is obvious that, in their hearts, they are becoming apostates. Many seem to be thinking of religion as some kind of an accessory to wear. Then, a religion may be like a political party that can be easily assembled and disassembled. However, if we believe in God, we cannot pursue unity with others deserting His doctrines and His ways.

I would rather have trust in God than in man.

(Translatorís Note: Gregory Chu is a graduate student from Korea, majoring in physics at Oxford University in England.)



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