The Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san, President of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace, issued the Message for the 11th Farmers' Sunday on
In the message, Bishop Choi said, "The globalization and neo-liberalism which have penetrated into most part of our economy, lead the Korean agriculture and rural communities into a very vulnerable situation with the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)." He added, "The Catholic Church in is concerned about farmers groaning under insecurities and heavy debts, and seeks for the better way to support them."
He underlined, "The Church affirmed repeatedly 'a globalization without marginalization' (Pope John Paul II, Message for the XXXI World Day for Peace 1998, n. 3) in order to surmount the negative aspects of the globalization which emphasizes the market principle for the strong. Therefore, it is necessary that the Korean government and society make efforts for reforming agricultural policy and structural adjustment."
He expressed his wish that 'the movement for life-agricultural community', which the Catholic Church in has developed through the "Save Our Farm Community" campaign since 1994, would continue to practice its true meaning in God's love. Then he asked people to carry out various formation programs focusing on the values of ecosystem and community in cities and rural areas, and to seek for various mutual exchanges between urban and rural areas such as direct sales of agricultural products.
Finally he expanded his gratitude to farmers for their contribution to God's work of creation despite of the difficult realities of life.
* First National Congress of Catholic Social Welfare
The first national congress of Catholic social welfare was held under the theme, "We are Caritas workers!" at St. J. Hasang Education Center in the Diocese of Daejeon from
In the keynote address, the Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, President of the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Corea", inspired a sense of vocation which is necessary for the participants, through his commentary on the first Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est. In particular, he underlined, "The Church is Caritas, love. Therefore the Caritas workers should realize their own identity in love and manifest themselves as the light of the world."
In the congress, two main presentations were made with the titles of "Christian Social Welfare" by Mr. Do Geon-chang, a researcher of the Caritas Academy of Caritas Corea, and of "Social Welfare in the Church and in general Society" by Mr. Park Seok-don, a professor emeritus of the social welfare department of Gyeongbuk University. Through workshops and case studies, the participants had an opportunity to seek for the way to preserve and develop the spirit of Caritas as well as to strengthen an inter-diocesan solidarity and their expertise in social welfare field.