The world is undergoing rapid and global changes, and humankind is facing the most critical turning point in history. Korea, a divided country, is not an exception. The changes occurring under the umbrella of ‘globalization’ or the ‘information age’, have been creating a new pastoral environment where the Church is working for the salvation of all peoples. The Catholic Church in Korea, in the face of the evangelical task for the year 2000, has been recently facing internal crises such as an increased number of inactive lay people and a slowdown of the growth rate.
First of all, a reflection and discernment on the signs of times need to be made in the light of faith in advance, and research activities should be made to develop action models based on faith. WTI as a member of the Church strives to develop “Our Theology,” which people and history require, through research and action. In this context the WTI, after a few years’ preparation, was formally founded on January 17, 1994.
WTI was founded with the purpose of, according to the gospel spirit of Christ, developing “Our Theology” with an analysis of and reflection on our social reality and to contribute to the renewal and unity of the church as well as to the evangelization of the nation.
a. Education and Training
- Publication of educational cartoons
- Bible study groups<Our Bible>
- Various training programs
b. Solidarity Activities
- Local and national Catholic social action groups or organizations
- Christian Council for Academic Solidarity
- International Catholic Organizations. e.g. ICMICA.
c. Pastoral Consulting
- Management Consulting on Church managing institutes
- Consulting on Pastoral Activities
d. Research Activities
- Research on topics related to evangelization and church renewal.
- Publication of articles in Catholic magazines and academic journals.
- Organization and participation in academic conferences or workshops.
- Translation of foreign publications.
e. Pastoral Information and Research
- Publication of a weekly magazine <Good News in a Divided Era>
- Pastoral supporting materials such as an evangelization booklet and examination paper of doctrines.
- Research and Survey on pastoral models.
Direction of the Activities
- We faithfully follow the spirit of Second Vatican Council.
- We emphasize on the national evangelization and preferential option for the poor.
- We communicate and develop solidarity with people with good will regardless of one’s religion, race, nation and ideology.
- We respect a just and equal participation of all church members while placing a priority on the vitalization of lay apostolate.
2) Korean Catholic Women Community (KCWC)
The Korean Catholic Women’s Community for a New World (KCWC) is a voluntary lay women’s group set up in April 1993 to improve the situation of women both in the Church and in society. It has greatly contributed to disseminating information about the comfort women’s issue (women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II). It also published a book entitled ‘Why Do You Speak With Her?’ for use in workshops studying the Bible from a feminist perspective.
The goals of KCWC are to create solidarity among Catholic women, to take an interest in women’s issues both within and outside of the Church, to promote the personal growth of women, to contribute to reform in the Church and to build a just and peaceful society.
About 130 members belong to the KCWC; most are women although there are a few men, the age and occupations of members vary greatly.
c. Major Activities During the Last Five Years Education
- Study Groups, Education Programs and Retreats for Members
- Visiting Programs for Parish Women
- Symposium on Mariology (May 1993)
- Series of Lectures for Catholic Women (April-May 1994)
- Symposium on Women’s Apostolate (May 1997)
- Publication of the textbook ‘Why Do You Speak With Her?’ (February 1995)
- Survey of the situation & the consciousness of Korean Catholic women (Jan.-March 1995)
- Publication of The Report on the Situation & the Consciousness of Korean Catholic Women (August 1995)
- Suggestions to the Bishop’s Conference regarding women’s apostolate (each year since 1995)
e. Women’s Liturgy
- Women’s liturgies at regular meetings
- Women’s Community Mass (10 times)
f. Solidarity Activities
- As a member of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, disseminated information about this issue to the Catholic Church, and periodically led the Wednesday Demonstration; exchanged newsletters with women’s groups all over the world; participated in various international meetings:
- Beijing World Women’s Conference, Asian Women’s Conference for dealing with the Comfort Women’s Issue, European Women’s Synod, Meetings for Human Rights, etc.
- As a member of the Korean Women’s Association Union, shared about women’s issues in Korean society and tried to work on those issues together
- As a member of the National Catholic Association for the Realization of Justice, engaged in social evangelization and Church reform
- As a member of Korean Catholic Coalition on Asian Economic Crisis, sponsored the International Seoul Forum on the Asian Economic Crisis and the Role of the Church held by the Woori Theological Institute and ICMICA Pax Romana, August 24-29, 1998.
g. Public Relations
- Newsletter in Korean “Miriam’s Song” (6 times a year)
- Newsletter in English “Kang Kang Su Wollye” (3 times a year)
h. Special Events
- Miriam Concert for Awakening (November 1994)
- Meeting for report on the 4th World Women’s Conference & for women’s
- Apostolate (September 1995)
- ’96 Catholic Women’s Gathering (September 1996)
- ’97 Catholic Women’s Gathering (October 1997)
i. Evaluation on Seoul Forum in highlighting women’s issue
- were in solidarity with other Asian Catholic women
- not enough discussion on women’s concerns during Forum
- forum didn’t reflect on the women’s perspective
- the forum was run “made” style