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Address by Bishop Paul Kim
at the University of Notre Dame

At the National Charismatic Conference,
Notre Dame Univ., South Bend, Indiana (June 2-4, 1989)
An address by Bishop Paul Tchang Ryeol Kim / Jeju
 - June 3, 1989 -

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

I am delighted to have received an invitation to be present at this National Conference and I thank the conference Chairman, Mr. Walter Matthews for giving me this opportunity to speak to you.

Just by way of background information, let me first say that in South Korea, where I come from, Catholics number two and a half million. This is six percent of the total population of forty two million. Sixteen percent of the Catholics, or roughly four hundred thousand people, have received Baptism in the Spirit through Charismatic Renewal conferences. For instance, last month conferences were held for priests, sisters and lay people by Eileen George in twelve of the fourteen dioceses of South Korea. Altogether over seventy thousand people participated. This is a very high percentage and it shows how interested Korean Catholics are in this movement.

I would like to tell you briefly about my own connection with this movement. When it was first introduced in my country in 1974, I did not like it. As a matter of fact, I looked upon it as a weird and unorthodox exercise. I was so concerned that I even opposed it. It took God five years to make me understand what it was all about. He began to clear up my misunderstandings through some of my closest priest-friends  as well as lay-people. Next He implanted in my mind a curiosity about the movement. Finally, in December 1979, at the break of dawn one morning, I awoke from sleep and, out of the blue, I started murmuring to myself, "I must go to the seminar. I will go to the seminar."  And so, in January 1980 I participated in my first Holy Spirit Renewal Seminar. It was one which was held for priests and religious. After that, I began to take a direct part in this movement. I have received much from this participation.

I will just briefly mention some of the changes of attitude that took place in me as a result of the action of the Holy Spirit. Ever since God revealed Himself as described in the Scriptures, right down to the present day, countless books have been written, trying to explain who God is. But it was not until I had made the Holy Spirit Renewal Seminar, that I began to really grasp the true answer to this question. The answer is sublime in its simplicity: "God is Love." I felt that He does not want to exist without me, that He who is self-existing and self-sufficient appears to need me so much that His happiness and His very being are dependent on His union with me. How profound is this mystery, and how far beyond my wildest imaginings is the goodness of God. I began to understand why the holy Cure of Ars always called Him "The Good God."

In addition to this new awareness of God, I received the grace of becoming a true Christian. I had been born a catholic and from my very earliest years, long before I went to school, my dear mother taught me my prayers as well as the basic truths of our holy Faith. Then later, I felt the call to the priesthood and studied Theology and Scripture in the seminary. I then had the opportunity to do post-graduate studies and eventually became Rector of the seminary where I was involved in the formation of young priests. And so, it was generally acknowledged that I was a real Christian. That appeared to be an incontrovertible fact. But the Holy Spirit, like another Pentecost during the Renewal seminar, shattered this false conviction of mine and made it very clear to me that, far from being a true believer, I was a weak and imperfect one. He made me see myself for what I was, a professional Christian. He also made clear to me the essential distinction between knowle! dge as such and a living faith.

Theology and Scripture are necessary and so, one should learn as much of these sacred disciplines as possible. Did not the Apostle Paul say in Romans, 10: "Faith comes through hearing" and "How can they believe unless they have heard of Him?" In whom do we believe? What do we believe? What Gospel do we receive? What is it that we must do? The inescapable fact is that we must know the answers to such questions of our Faith and we must know our obligations as believers. However, hearing alone or learning alone, cannot make us Christians. They say that "Seeing is believing", but even this does not always guarantee faith, as we know from the example of the many people who saw Jesus directly and were in His company but still did not believe in Him. Most of them turned their backs on Him. Mere seeing does not of itself produce belief. Mere knowledge, of itself, does not produce Faith.

Brother Carlo Carretto, a disciple of Charles de Foucauld, has this to say:  "Today many people who are seeking God, study Him in books and as a subject for intellectual exercise and curiosity. What is the result? The more they study, the more confused their ideas become, the more they give themselves over to intellectual debate, the farther afield they drift. In my view, this is the essence of the crisis that confronts the Church today".

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ, we are living in a time of much academic study. We are obsessed with learning and knowing new things. Everywhere conferences and seminars proliferate. People rush about from one study group to another. Of course, there are good and profitable elements to be found in all of these meetings and there are even times when they are necessary. A thirst for theological and scriptural learning stems from God's grace and by doing our utmost to quench that thirst, we respond fittingly to that grace. However such study alone does not automatically bring with it good results.

On one occasion I felt the Holy Spirit transmitting the mind and will of the Lord Jesus to me as follows: "I want you to have a purer faith. Your faith does not become stronger by the mere study of truth. You know that in my time on earth, the scribes and pharisees, for all their knowledge of the Scriptures, would not acknowledge me. If it were true that faith grows in direct proportion to knowledge of Theology and Scripture, then Europe today would be a place of strong and fervent faith, but in fact, that is not so. Look at Europe today. In the areas of Theology and Scripture, how numerous are the scholars and the books they produce. In spite of that, there is no place where faith and devotion are weaker. The majority of those so-called scholars do not believe in me. There is no direct proportion between learning and faith. My wish and hope for you is that, rather than learning for the sake of learning and studying for the sake of studying my teaching, you w! ould make progress in a life of pure faith and devotion." Praise be to Jesus for this insight which He gave to me.

It may be that our faith is being weakened by the pollution of too much dependence on human learning and knowledge. I feel that we should apply the same effort to reduce faith pollution as is being applied to reduce environmental pollution. Praise be to God Who, through His Holy Spirit, made me understand, that although I had studied and learned about God, I was not a genuine believer and that there is no direct proportion between knowledge and faith and that they are by no means one and the same thing.

Finally, I would like to say that, through renewal by the Holy Spirit, I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ in His person and I came to experience an intimate, actual relationship with Him. After the Holy Spirit renewal, I began to have the desire to call on His name in faith and love. I now live constantly calling upon the name of Jesus, that one and only name whereby we can be saved. And now I have resurrected in my diocese the beautiful greeting "Praise be to Jesus" ("Praised be Jesus") which Korean Catholics traditionally used when meeting one another but which had been gradually dying out over the last thirty years.

I remember seeing two American soldiers fighting each other forty years ago. I was shocked to hear them use the holy name of Jesus along with curses and foul language. I was especially shocked and depressed when I discovered they were both Catholics. It was a monstrous thing that they who had received so many blessings through our Lord Jesus Christ, instead of praising Him with all their strength, were trampling His holy name in the mud. Of course, I am sure that the Charismatic Renewal movement will very much remove this stain from society. I know that Jesus loves us to call His name with faith and love. I came to understand the truth of His word that if we ask the Father anything in His name, the Father will grant it (John 14,14; 16,23). Wonderful indeed is the power of His name. Praise be to Jesus!

In the part of the city where I live, I am surrounded by houses where people were always fighting and screaming at one another. I wanted to help them stop this, for my own sake as well as theirs. So I began to put myself in their midst, not physically but in spirit. As a matter of fact, to this day I have not directly laid eyes on any of them. With an eruption of fighting, I would face the house in question and with love in my heart for the people inside, I would pray to God for them and if things were really bad, I would call on the name of Jesus to expel the evil spirit from their midst. And then an extraordinary thing would happen. The noise of battle would fade, and quiet would descend upon the place. At first I thought it might be just pure coincidence, but it happened so often that I became convinced that the calling of the name of Jesus was the cause. Now peace reigns in the neighborhood. It has become so quiet that one would think there is nobody at a! ll living in the place. This has made me understand that the evil spirit is indeed very active where hatred raises its ugly head.

I would like to continue talking to you for a long time but then, it may be that you might not like to continue listening to me for a long time. At any rate, the program schedule demands that I now stop. It has been a pleasure and an honor being with you and I pray that Heavenly Father, in union with His Divine Son Our Lord Jesus Christ will pour the Holy Spirit into your souls "so that you may have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10,10) Praise be to Jesus! Alleluia!

+ Paul Tchang Ryeol Kim
Bishop of Jeju Diocese
South Korea

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