SEOUL, Feb. 23, 01 (CWNNews.com/Fides) - The Ki movement,
which is attracting many Christians, mostly Catholics in
Korea, as a means of health promotion, is going beyond this
dimension and entering the religious realm and this is a
matter of concern for the local Church, according to South
Korea's bishops' conference.
In January Bishop Peter Kang, an auxiliary of Seoul, sent
an official memorandum to all clergy and religious of the
archdiocese warning about the ambiguity and danger of Ki
culture, which is part of the New Age Movement, in fashion
in Korea and other countries.
Bishop Kang expressed concern, first of all, about
Catholics, even clergy and religious, who go to Ki Centers,
and he underlines the need for discernment: "When Ki
formation touches the religious realm going beyond its
dimension which is health promotion, it becomes dangerous."
He added, "If they use Ki training as a means of improving
health then I have nothing to say. But if they insist that
people can reach salvation by themselves, this is a serious
mistake because salvation cannot be obtained by any human
efforts or techniques, it only be achieved by God."
"Priest and religious who have contact with Ki culture
believing that its helps them for meditation or health,
should act with discernment recalling that their attitude
can bring confusion to the Christian life," Bishop Kang
Ki culture is part of the New Age Movement, first seen in
Korea in the 1980s, when after the poverty of the previous
decades the economy improved and people turned their
interest to individual happiness. The Ki movement insists
that human beings can become absolute by a mysterious art
and that salvation can be reached through personal
Prof. Rho Kil-myong, who teaches social sciences at Korea
University and is an expert in the area of new religious
sect, said: "Its members believe that Ki is the ultimate
principle and nature of the universe."
Explaining why Catholics may be attracted to the new sect,
Prof. Rho Kil-myong said: "As a liturgy-centered religion,
the Catholic Church does not satisfy the spiritual desire
of the faithful to experience God: this is why many
Catholics want to be compensated by Ki culture." Side
effects are that people confuse Ki experience with
experience of the Holy Spirit; they begin to reject the
institutionalized Church; they adopt fanaticism and
emotional attitudes; and they reject the doctrine of
salvation by divine grace.
The professor concluded that "the Church should listen to
what her members say and desire. With its 2,000 years of
history and tradition, I believe that Christianity has many
means to respond to the spiritual needs of the faithful. For
instance the various spiritual programs of contemplation and
meditation of religious institutes and contemplative
communities can be shared with the lay faithful."