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Vatican cardinal warns Korean laity against secularism, bureaucracy, some Confucian tendencies

Catholic World News - October 07, 2013

At a meeting with Korean laity on October 5, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples expressed gratitude for the tremendous growth of the Church in South Korea over the past five decades and warned against three threats, the Fides news agency reported.

In 1949, 1.1% of Koreans were Catholics, and there were 81 priests; just after the Second Vatican Council, 2.5% of South Korea was Catholic. Today, 10.3% of the nation is Catholic, and there are over 4,600 priests and 1,500 seminarians.

In the midst of this growth, Cardinal Fernando Filoni warned against secularism and materialism. “If fidelity to the message of Christ and our convicted testimony are lacking, either at the personal or at the social level, the Church waters down her proper proclamation and her witness, thus rendering a terrible service to God and to mankind,” he said during an October 5 meeting in Seoul. “The temptation to live a comfortable faith implies a certain sense of being satisfied with the results reached, and consequently, reduces or loses the vision even of missionary and pastoral commitment.”

“An additional danger, in a country with a high propensity for technology, is represented by the tendency toward bureaucratization and hyper-efficiency, almost depersonalizing, or depersonalizing oneself, according to a kind of bureaucratic-administrative style, almost as if the Church were a for-profit company or a holy NGO [non-governmental organization], as Pope Francis has warned us about many times.”

“A further problem, it seems to me, consists of the tendency, according to a Confucian way of thinking, to break apart the composite reality of the Church, where the virtues of fraternity and ecclesial communion do not prevail, but rather, distinction, rank, and age,” Cardinal Filoni added.

The prelate is visiting South Korea to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the erection of the Diocese of Suwon.

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