Korean Christian Thought Institute

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Official name Korean Christian Thought Institute.
Country / Continent Korea / Asia
Director of the institute Sang-Tai Shim, Th.D; honorary Prof. of Suwon Catholic University.
Legal holder of the institute Korean Christian Thought Institute Corporation.
Sponsor of the institute Individual Clerics (2 bishops and about 100 priests), laypeople (about 200 Koreans and few foreigners) and some religious communities.
Year of foundation 1991
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) 5
Staff members of your institute 1 religious, 2 lay people.
Contact 167 Wanglim-Ri

Pongdap-Myon

Hwasung-Gun

445-744 KYONGGI DO

Tel: ++ 0331 – 292 7857

Kcti1130@chollian.net


Contents

Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

Korean Christian Thought Institute.

Director of the institute

Sang-Tai Shim, Th.D; honorary Prof. of Suwon Catholic University.

Legal holder of the institute

Korean Christian Thought Institute Corporation.

Individual Clerics (2 bishops and about 100 priests), laypeople (about 200 Koreans and few foreigners) and some religious communities.

Vision / mission statement

This Institute was founded to promote the inculturation of Christianity and to enrich the World Church through indepth research on questions related to Christianity in Korea/Asia.

Main areas of work

Research and support of Korean Christian thought; dialogues and seeking of social common good with other religions.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

Priests, religious and laypeople who are more or less active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level.

Year of foundation

December 27th, 1991

Organisational structure of the institute

The formal executive board of seven members with the president holds responsibilities for the main policies and administrations as the head committee, to which an internal audit belongs officially and a honorary chairman inofficially. The director takes charge of executing decisions of the former board as the permanent executive, and presides at the research committee of about 15 members of scholars that is in charge of the planning the annual research works of regular course, symposium, forum and any important matter for the institute as such. He holds also responsibility of forming two research under-committees, one for Youth Pastoral Inculturation and the other for Thomas Merton, which are yet leaded autonomously by committee members. He leads also the office works of the staff.

And the permanent sponsor-group committee of about 25 official members has regular monthly meeting that aims at activating the support the institute.

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

3 official employees, 1 unofficial employee, 1 freelancer, several volunteers.

Staff members of your institute[2]

1 religious, 2 lay people.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

They are quite well qualified for the performing of their work.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

Our first option is to raise awareness of the need for inculturation among the Korean Christians. At this III. Millennium, our Korean Church has still the distinctive characteristics of the Western Christianity, although she has been there unstoppably weakened since the last quarter of the 20th century. We are mainly concerned about the revitalizing or revitalizing the Christian message, that means the Gospel of the Lord in this country and elsewhere in the world through the pursuing manyfold research works related to the topics of inculturation.

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

As mentioned above, our entire pastoral works are focused mainly on the fundamental change of the consciousness and religious or spiritual level of the Christians, primarily Catholics here.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

Our pastoral aims are to vitalize or revitalize the Christian message in the historical context of Korea/Asia among the present and future Christians.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

From the start, we have been providing various pastoral services through opening regular pastoral course and holding seminars and forums that have been related to topics of inculturation in a broad sense.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

Since the beginning of this Millennium, we have initiated a deep and systematic investigation of youth pastoral area through forming our youth pastoral inculturation committee, since we saw the urgent need of reevaluation of ongoing youth pastoral policies and seeking after alternative one. Some institutional or communal entities have formed recently similar investigation bodies for the activation of youth pastoral that has been rapidly weaken since the 1990th years of the late century.

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

This does not mean that our efforts have had already any remarkable impact on the official decision of the church leaders; we are yet urgently hoping in providing some alternative insights and practical methods, that they would not miss right chance for the bright future of the church.

What notion of God inspires your work?

Our entire work has been founded on a view of God that sees him as one who has been always present for the wellbeing and the salvation of every mankind without any discrimination in the created universal world, so that it might be possible to find manifold signs and symbols of his salvation – will anywhere and anytime in the human history.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

Christian spirituality that has shaped deeply and broadly the lives of numerous saints in the church history, has been shaping similarly our works, so that we have been opening continuously regular lectures on the past and present Christian spirituality since many years, because we think that the true Christian spirituality is just what makes Christians genuine as such.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

Since reality means not only the religious and spiritual reality, but also the social, political, economical, ecological and etc., shortly, worldly one, we have been trying to get help from well balanced scientific analysis or luminous insights of competent scholars in these fields and then analysing and evaluating them from the sight of genuine Christian message. We are going to continue further these processes.

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

We have continued in these years to hold annual official symposiums and forums and to give numerous lectures to let the public know what is the real matter, and what should be done for the society and the church.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

Like mentioned already, we have been continuing regularly to give public lectures, to open semester course and to hold annual symposiums and congresses.

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

We publish one quarterly magazine, one annual periodical, series books etc.

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

It would be most important service for our institute to help realization of the truly inculturated church in the Korean society, so that she would be more mature and inner, further could be in the position, to enrich her neighbour local churches and the world church.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

This year is the 20th anniversary of our institute’s founding. On one side, I am very thankful to the active support and commitment of our free members and supporters who have made all the work of so many years possible through their selfless help. I personally find the existence of the institute itself as a miracle, because it has been existed these years fast only with their free commitments without any regular finances of the official church. But on the other side, I personally am very ashamed of the poor results, that are far away from the goal.

The work of our institute is so weak that our church leaders have stayed unchanged at the same position who seem to be satisfied with a church that might be more Roman than Romans themselves.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

We have been dealing with issues especially like the global crisis of the worsening polarization between rich and poor, and like ecological crisis at present.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

As one might perhaps guess, that the financial weakness would be the main difficulties of this institute. It is true. Our work has been stayed always minimal, and often superficial, even though the need of fundamental and deep investigation had been very obvious because of our weak financial capacity.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

The present rapidity of our social change brings also the rapid and deep change of consciousness of everyone, especially of young generation together. I think, that our institute has to deal with this social and global phenomena more deeply and intensely.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

We hope heartily, that our institute might be a theological symbol figure for the maturity of our vital, yet immature Korean Christianity.

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

We think, that our institute has supported laypeople to be conscious of their identity and lead a mature life both in the Church and in the society.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

Our work goes over any single church or confession to supra-diocesan churches and pan national communities, speakers and attendants of our lectures, seminars and congresses are often open to all in our society.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

We have had only about once cooperation with the Korea Pastoral Institute of our Bishops’ Conference and twice with our diocese Suwon, this means, that close cooperation with the official Church does not take place de facto.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

We are belonging to networks of Suwon Catholic University institutes and have only loose cooperation with other institutes at national level.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

We have not yet tried to belong to any network at international level.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

We have held seminars or symposiums with non-Christian religions about theoretical and spiritual topics or about ecological crisis.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

We have been holding also seminars or symposiums with non-Catholic Christians about various theological and social topics, and let them give lectures in our regular courses.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

I am personally a regular member of “Kardinal Walter Kasper Institut”, that was founded 2007 and holds annual symposiums every year.

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

First of all we thank you for this project. But at this moment, I am not yet prepared how to anwer this question. I have to think more about this matter.




  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.