CBCK News


The Document "Renewal and Reconciliation"

2009.08.24 10:37


On December 3rd, 2000 when the Church liturgically enters the new year, the Catholic Church in Korea made official confession before Korean people for her past faults during 200-year history and asked forgiveness. The CBCK decided to announce the document "Renewal and reconciliation" on the first Sunday of Advent (December 3rd, 2000) and to have a time of penance at the cathedral if the diocesan bishop wishes to do so.
The document is comprised of seven points; the first two points confess Church's negative attitude of depending on foreign powers as way of seeking for freedom of religion during persecutions and condemning fighters for national independence during Japanese colonialism under pretext of separation of Church and State. The 3rd point is a self-examination of the Church for her little efforts regarding unity and reconciliation of Korean people. The last four points are regarding confession and self-examination of the Church for her lack of constructive efforts to create a society in favor of the poor and marginalized people, and to restore moral values.
Following is the full text of the document:

"Renewal and Reconciliation"

We entered a new millennium with the Great Jubilee. In order that the Church will open a new era in faithfulness to the mission entrusted to her, it is necessary, first of all, to have an attitude to repent her past faults and purify herself. His Holiness Pope John Paul II reminded that "acknowledging the weaknesses of the past is an act of honesty and courage which helps us to strengthen our faith."(Tertio Millennio Adveniente, no. 33) and showed us an example of the Church making penance for her faults.
The Church is called to dispense to people the grace of salvation that Christ has achieved. However, we confess straightforwardly that we, as disciples of Christ, have not carried out the mission fully. It is just and right that we, brothers and sisters in the mystical Body of Christ, should make penance for our faults in the past. Based on this penance, we want to renew ourselves and reconcile with our Korean people and march together with those who strive to make new history.

1. We, during the period of persecution against the Catholic Church in Korea when people knew very little of the world situation, sometimes tried to obtain the freedom of religion and protect the Church by depending on foreign powers, and experienced some cultural conflicts on the way of the introduction of the Western culture. As it was shown in the events that caused sufferings and hurts to our people, we sometimes took part of unjust pressures of foreign countries.

2. We regret that there were sometimes misunderstanding, and what is more, restriction imposed on the faithful who took the lead of the independence movement of Korean people during the dark period when Korean people suffered from the invasion of the World Powers and the Japanese colonial rule, even if that was for the purpose of securing peace and stability of the Church, in the name of the separation of Church and State.

3. We express regret for not being positively involved in making efforts to overcome the division of Korean people that was made in the process of reorganization of the world order after the national independence and to make the unity and reconciliation, and are contrite for sacrifices of many people caused in that process.

4. We make a self-examination of the insufficient efforts to solve conflicts between regions, classes and generations and to promote the human rights of those who are alienated and discriminated in our society like the disabled and foreign workers.

5. We did not make efforts enough to lead people so that all human beings created in the image of God can live in harmony and cooperation grounded on authentic moral values in a society where collective selfishness, moral hazard, irregularities and corruption are wide spread. Especially, we did not lead enough the youth so that they can grow in love for God and neighbor with upright conscience.

6. We did not follow always the example of Jesus who "came not to be served but to serve"(Mk 10,45). Sometimes, our clergy did not give a moral and ethical exemplar to the society and fell into authoritarianism or ran after secular trends like excessive interest in external growth of the Church.

7. We confess that we did not understand fully spiritual and cultural values, social and moral virtues within the other religions in our nation which forms a pluralistic society.

We confess that we did not implement our duties to be the salt and the light to the world as Jesus recommended to us. In this occasion, we ask forgiveness of all people who have been hurt by our indifference, onlooking and faults.
Renewing ourselves in penance, we promise to do our best to build a better world of justice and peace in unity with all people of good will according to the teaching of Christ.

We pray God to grant His abundant grace to all of our nation.

December 3rd, 2000
First Sunday of Advent
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
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