Gwangju (AsiaNews) - Renewing the Church in Korea and reviving the New Evangelization "systematically" using the Joy of the Gospel announced by Pope Francis and using his recent visit to South Korea as a "compass" for the life of the Catholic community.
These are the steps that Msgr. Hyginus Kim Hee-jong, the newly elected president of the Korean Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Gwangju, wants to take over the course of his term. Speaking to AsiaNews, the Archbishop outlines the priorities and challenges of this new task bearing in mind the need to "proclaim the message of Christ, the priority of every Christian."
The "new course" of the conference, said Msgr. Kim, "starts
from Gaudium Evangelii. I would like to organize systematically the "The Joy of the
Gospel", which was announced by Pope Francis, and his speech for various levels
of the faithful and citizen in his visit to Korea. Then, I would
like to develop guidelines for renovation of Korean Church and new
This renewal is nothing news: "After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, most people had a strong desire to reform to the Church through the Trent Council. Pope Pius thought that "Reformatio in capitate" is urgently needed, so he insisted that prelates need to be reform first. In conformity with the teachings of Church and spirit of the Gospel, Korean Catholic Church should also push ahead with reforms of religious, including priests and bishops, as a priority".
Turning his attention to the continent, Msgr. Kim believes that a fundamental point is that of the Korean Catholic Mission in Asia: "I would like to refer to way of proclaiming the Gospel of Church Fathers of the early Church. Fathers of the early Church were full of strong passion and confidence for faith".
This "is not an academic discussion only. To proclaim
the Gospel of Christianity more effectively in Asia, we need to fully
understand their history, culture, custom, thinking method, and language for
mission. Most of all, mission for the local people should be built on the foundation
of respect and affection. I think the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is the
principle of the Inculturation for the missionaries".
Only in this way, continued the Archbishop of Gwangju, will Korea be able to respond to the appeals of Pope Francis for an outward moving Church: " If we all enclosed by a fence of church, who would preach the gospel to the world? I have been encouraging capable laity to spread value of the gospel into civil society for a long time. Capable laity who can spread value of gospel and teachings of church to the world. I will find a way that these trained laity can act more actively to integrate social culture with value of the gospel".
In conclusion, Msgr. Kim invites his fellow Korean bishops and priests to think about a approach: "The clergy, especially in Korea, needs to do something other than what it has done thus far: it must embody the role of the prophet in order to protect the image of 'man, who is the image of God".