Papal visit should revitalize the Church in Korea
'Tremendous excitement and expectation' ahead of pope's visit, priest says
- Jan Bentz for CNA/EWTN News
- July 18, 2014
In the run up to Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea next month, a Korean priest said he expects ground breaking changes there in terms of peace and the Church’s service to society.
“The Koreans are very excited and full with joy,” Fr. Denis Kim, S.J., a professor of sociology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, told CNA.
“There is also an expectation for a renewal of the Church in Korea. In other words, the Holy Father can bring refreshment and also give inspiration, a sense of direction to the Korean Church.”
Fr. Kim, who is a professor of sociology at the Jesuits' Roman university, is convinced that the papal visit -- slated for August 14-18 -- will be important not only for South Korea, but for all of Asia, where the people of Japan and China yearn for reconciliation in their own countries.
“The Church can contribute more, and in this regard Holy Father can inspire and stimulate; so there is tremendous excitement and expectation for his visit.”
The Church in South Korea has grown exponentially, marking 70 percent growth over the last decade. From 1949 to 2010, it expanded from 0.6 percent of the population, to 10.9 percent.
Fr. Kim suggested two reasons for the attraction of the Church.
“First there is a special hunger; so if you ask the Koreans who recently became Catholic, they will say: ‘I became Catholic because I wanted to find peace, peace of mind and heart.'”
The Catholic Church has also "acquired credibility and a moral authority in comparison to other religions in the country”, Fr. Kim added.
Source: Catholic News Service