CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 14 September 2019

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Symposium on Jesuit adaptationism in Rome

SEOUL (UCAN): The East Asia Evangelisation Centre in South Korea held a symposium in at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome to discuss Jesuit adaptationism on April 30. The gathering in Rome titled, Early modern civilisation of East Asia and adaptationism of the Church, also discussed authentic Asian theology and the history of missionary work in Korea and Asia.
 
The Jesuit adaptationist approach influenced the triple dialogue evangelisation methods presented by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
 
The approach in countries such as China and Japan works not by unilaterally proclaiming the gospel, but by understanding the local culture first and spreading the gospel with a view to cultural sensitivity. It is highly praised as a model for new evangelisation.
 
During the symposium six young Korean scholars presented papers on themes such as Francis Xavier and the birth of adaptationism and Change of Japanese society in middle and modern ages by Jesuits.
 
In a keynote speech, Walter Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, stressed the importance of the work of the Korean Church in the evangelisation of Asia.
 
“From the view of Rome, Korea is on the periphery, but Korea stands at the centre of growth. Not only growing in economic terms, I hope the Church in Korea grows spiritually and academically, and infuses new youthfulness and a new global spirituality to the universal Church and the world,” he said.
 
Pope Francis sent a congratulatory message saying, “I will pray for fruitful discussion and results in the symposium with goodwill. I hope this symposium offers a chance to discern an effective way of proclaiming the Gospel in the Asian context considering various pastoral needs in the region.”
 
Father Pius Kim Dong-won, director of the centre, said the symposium’s aim was not to boast of academic results or to gain recognition but to remember the missionary work of the universal Church for faraway countries and to thank it.
 
“The main factor for the growth of the Church in Korea is that lay scholars voluntarily understood and experienced the value of the gospel thanks to the adaptationist mission policy,” he said.
 
 “For the evangelisation of Asia, we need adaptationist work to sow the seeds of the gospel in cultural contexts, efforts for unity with the universal Church and the generous attitude and support of the Universal Church,” Father Kim said.
 
Based at Cheonjinam Shrine, the East Asia Evangelisation Centre is known as the birthplace of Korean Catholicism by lay scholars.

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