Forum on the Cooperation of the Government and the Church with the Management of the Social Welfare Facilities
The CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana" (President: Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, Bishop of Masan) held a forum on the theme of 'Cooperation of the government and the Church with the management of the social welfare facilities' at the Catholic Center in Myeongdong, Seoul on October 22, 2010. The participants discussed the problems caused by the misunderstanding of the government side, especially of the local government paying not much attention to the religious identity of ecclesiastical entities, when the former entrusts the management of social welfare facilities to the latter. They also pondered upon the proper measures on the ecclesiastical side. As it is impossible for the government to manage the social welfare facilities single-handedly, it usually entrusts private entities with the facilities partially or wholly. In this regard, there are many parties who are engaged in interest conflicts because of diverse demands and needs of the government as well as of many private social welfare entities including those with strong religious identities. In his paper entitled 'The cooperation between government and the Church in the area of social welfare - the ecclesiastical standpoint and case study', Dr. Francis Park Mun-su, Vice-Director of the Korean Catholic Culture Institute, said, "Now we have to ponder upon the concrete methods to realize the common good and the best ways to manifest it in the process of mutual contract between the government and the Church, putting aside the discussion on the justification of such a cooperation." In his paper entitled 'A treatise on entrusting private entities with the social welfare facilities of the government', Mr. Francis Cheong Jin-mo, Director of Hanuri Information Culture Center, said, "Now we also have to ponder upon the rational management of the entrusted governmental facilities, as well as the formation and training of their staffs." He also said, "We have to make a deliberation on the unique characteristic of the Catholic Church in comparison with other religious entities, when we manage the social welfare facilities entrusted by the government. We also have to ponder upon its effectiveness for the proclamation of the Gospel, when we can make good use of the operational expenses of the entrusted social welfare facilities to other activities." In the panel discussion, the participants, 5 staff members from diocesan Caritas of five major cities and a member of Seoul city council, expressed their concern about the problems of irregularities and improper practices in the process of cooperation contract between the government and the private entities. They also shared their financial difficulties in management of the entrusted social welfare facilities.