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Gregorianum 2021 Fasc. 1

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09 - Kim Denis S.I. - Migration and the Church’s Social Mission in East Asia

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Kim Denis S.I.

Migration and the Church’s Social Mission in East Asia

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to explore the Church’s social mission regarding migration in East Asia (Korea, Japan, and Taiwan). For this purpose, it examines the migration flows in these countries, which have undergone a double transformation from emigration to immigration, and from a homogenous to a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society. The study highlights the general ignorance of the situation of asylum seekers, the feminization of migration, and the emerging racial hierarchy in the context of nationalism. In response, the Church’s ministry for migrants has developed from its
initial focus on pastoral and social service to advocacy. Despite its contributions, however, the Church needs to pay more attention to institutional and cultural reforms in this region. This paper therefore suggests that the Church’s social mission needs to play the roles of mother, prophet, teacher, and bridge-builder. In its pastoral and social
service, the Church manifests its role as mother; in its efforts for institutional reform to promote migrants’ rights, it fulfills its role as prophet; in its ability to help correct racism, it fulfills its duty as teacher; and finally, in its ability to serve as a bridge between natives and migrants and between pro- and anti-migrant forces, it realizes its potential as bridge-builder.

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Kim Denis S.I.

Migration and the Church’s Social Mission in East Asia

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to explore the Church’s social mission regarding migration in East Asia (Korea, Japan, and Taiwan). For this purpose, it examines the migration flows in these countries, which have undergone a double transformation from emigration to immigration, and from a homogenous to a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society. The study highlights the general ignorance of the situation of asylum seekers, the feminization of migration, and the emerging racial hierarchy in the context of nationalism. In response, the Church’s ministry for migrants has developed from its
initial focus on pastoral and social service to advocacy. Despite its contributions, however, the Church needs to pay more attention to institutional and cultural reforms in this region. This paper therefore suggests that the Church’s social mission needs to play the roles of mother, prophet, teacher, and bridge-builder. In its pastoral and social
service, the Church manifests its role as mother; in its efforts for institutional reform to promote migrants’ rights, it fulfills its role as prophet; in its ability to help correct racism, it fulfills its duty as teacher; and finally, in its ability to serve as a bridge between natives and migrants and between pro- and anti-migrant forces, it realizes its potential as bridge-builder.

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