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Communications on Jul. 12, 2002

2009.08.24 12:21

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* The Church in Korea is 'Young but Mature', Says Cardinal Sepe

A Vatican top official visiting Korea confirmed the maturity of Church in Korea for Foreign Mission.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, visited Korea on July 3-6 and looked around the reality of the Church in Korea. The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples assumes general responsibilities for missionary lands in the world.
The visit also intended to convey the congratulation and encouragement of the Holy See to the Catholic Church in Korea that celebrates the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the hierarchy this year.
His activities during the visit included; pilgrimage to Jeoldusan, the shrine place of the Korean Martyrs; visit at Bugok parish in the Diocese of Suwon and the Catholic University of Suwon; attendance at the priestly ordination of the Archdiocese of Seoul; visit at the Bishops' Conference of Korea; meeting with various members of the Catholic Church in Korea including priests, religious, and lay people; bestowment of pallium, a symbol of archbishop, on the Most Rev. Andrew Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, on behalf of the Holy Father etc.
The Cardinal also met President Kim Dae-jung(Thomas) at the Blue House and exchanged views on the present situation of the Korean Peninsula and interchange between the South Korea and the Holy See. On that occasion, the Cardinal said to the President that "the Holy Father wished to visit North Korea but conditions do not allow it for now. However, the Holy See hopes exchanges with North Korea and it wishes efforts of South Korean government for dialogue with North Korea and reconciliation of Korean people may bear fruits."
On the second day of his visit, the Cardinal had a press conference at Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul and expressed opinions on various issues.
While he emphasized the important role of the Church in Asia as leaven in Asian countries, he also stressed reciprocal development of local churches and the universal church, saying, "being a true local church open to the universal church is ideal image. Asia is our future and hope. Indeed, this is a new aspect of the Church. The Holy Father has great hope and trust in Asia, thus the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is asked to concentrate its efforts on the Church in Asia. That's why I want to 'marry Asia!'"
With regard to ethical problems such as experiment of human cloning, he reaffirmed the principle of the Church. "When new problems are emerging, the Church only lives and acts following the Gospel which Christ entrusted to her. Despite the variation of times, places and thoughts, the fundamental basis is firm and the heritage of faith should be kept on it."
Before he left for Mongolia on July 6, he said, "the Catholic Church in Korea is a promising Church for the present and future of the Church."
And he wished this visit could deepen the understanding of the Holy See for the Church in Korea and help to prepare for more appropriate mission policies.


* 'Basic Ecclesial Community', the Future of the Church in Korea”

The movement of Basic Ecclesial Community(BEC) of the Church in Korea is developing with an ever increasing speed.
The BEC in Korea had 3-day national convention from July 1-3 at Chong Ha-sang Educational Center, attached building of the Catholic University of Daejeon, with a theme 'Basic Ecclesial Community is the Future of the Church in Korea' with over 250 participants who came from across the country.
Participants included five Bishops of the Most Rev. Joseph Kyeong Kap-ryong, President of the Committee for Evangelization, the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo, the Most Rev. Vicent Ri Pyung-ho, the Most Rev. Paul Choi Duk-ki and the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il and directors of the pastoral department of each Diocese, and other priests, religious, lay people.
Following is excerpt of the final statement:
"The Holy Trinity is the origin of community and the mankind created in the image of God is called to live in community. So, building up the community is an extension of the work of creation of God. In order to realize in our society the image of the Church as a community we intend to build BEC formed in small groups. The heart of the BEC consists of transforming our life according to the spirit of the Gospel. In the BEC the faithful are nourished by the words of God and get strength to transform and renew their life. By Gospel sharing in the community, the faithful get closer to the Word of God. Active participation of the laity is required so that the Church can perform properly her mission of sacrament of salvation. By listening to the stories and experiences of dioceses and parishes, we could confirm that the laity can be the leading part of apostolate through the BEC. Thus, the BEC is the place to educate the faithful to help themselves with free choice to live up the Word of God. It is also a common place for the clergy, religious and lay people to learn new role and new leadership.
Nowadays, the Church in Korea is faced with various challenges of times. The problem we are confronted with is how to overcome the secularization of the Church tending to follow the trends of the world rather than trying to evangelize the world. In such context, we hope that the BEC will be the leaven of evangelization of the world.
In order to achieve the evangelization through the BEC we will extend fraternal collaboration and exchanges between dioceses and parishes and keep to exchange pastoral information with Asian churches. Also we will keep promoting pastoral and theological studies to nurture the BEC. 'Rise, let us be on our way(Jn 14,31).' and go to the vineyard of the Father to love Him and put in practice His teachings.
The Most Rev. Paul Choi Duk-ki, Bishop of Suwon, who gave a lecture to the participants, pointed out that "in many cases the neighborhood meeting is considered as a substructure of the parish or means to animate pastoral activities of the parish. However, if BEC is the important choice of the Church in Korea as the only alternative for the third millennium the Church should make a clear expression of her position on the matter and provide due teachings."”
The Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Seoul, said that the BEC is at the heart of the teachings of the Vatican Council II, thus it is not proper to consider the BEC as a sub-organization of the parish.
"40 years have passed since the Vatican Council II ended, however, we cannot say its teachings have taken roots in the Church in Korea. The Council's teaching is that the BEC is the most suitable way to realize the word of God, the Holy Trinity. Thus the fundamental goal of the Movement is to establish in our society the movement of the Kingdom of God that Jesus started first," and added "it can be a driving force to improve Church structure and transform the society."”
"BEC is a new fruit that is produced in the course of evolution of the Church, so, it requires long-term work with patience," he said.
While the first national convention of the BEC movement that was taken place in June, 2001 announced a signal of new 'jump' for the future, the second one was meaningful in the sense that the Church in Korea could reconfirm the potentiality of the Movement to take roots in it and opened its concrete prospective.


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