The Subcommittee for Women under the CBCK Committee for the Lay Apostolate (President: Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung) held a seminar with the theme "Women and the Communication in the Church" at Jeongdong Franciscan Center in Seoul on September 11, 2009. This seminar was held to seek solutions for the difficulties of communication that Catholic women have experienced in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and to find an effective way for them to participate actively in the decision-making process of the Church in which women occupy over 70%.
At this seminar, five speakers presented their views on this topic, representing lay women, lay man, the clergy and the religious, respectively.
Sister Elisabeth Choi Hye-young (Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) first expressed her view through the paper entitled "The Communication in the Church and Women: Towards the Church communicating through the mutual listening and consensus". She pointed out that in reality, there is no channel to convey women's voice in a direct manner to the upper levels of ecclesiastical hierarchy. And she emphasized, "It is important for bishops and priests to make efforts consciously to communicate with the laity and the religious, and for the laity to have a consciousness that they are the Church."
Then, Ms. Josephine Park Hyeon-jeong, representing lay women, confessed her discouragement of the lack of communication that lay women experience not only with the parish priest, but also with lay men and religious serving the parish, which leads to the lack of responsibility and will.
In turn, Mr. Viviano Kim Jung-ho, representing lay men, while acknowledging the tendency to exclude women from the members of the Pastoral Council in the parish, criticized the passive attitudes of lay women when they are charged with important and responsible tasks in the parish.
Representing the religious, Sister Regina Kang Song-sook (Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul) said, "The religious, especially those who are working in the parish are differentiated from the parish priest, but at the same time they want to exert their power especially over lay women", and proposed to review the relationship between the religious and lay women in the parish.
Rev. Gabriel Cho Jae-hyeong, a parish priest, representing the clergy, stressed to recognize the difference of roles and duties that each member of the Church assumes, and to say life-giving words to each other.
During the panel talk after the presentation of each speaker, Sister Elisabeth Choi said, "We have to listen to the words of Jesus Christ and at the same time to the signs of times to be born again as a horizontal and equal Church, a harmonious Church having both sides of masculine and feminine of God," and added, "We need a golden rule like the words of Matthew, 'Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.'(Mt 7,12) for mutual understanding and communion within the Church".