* Catholic Church in Korea Proclaims its Resolutions to Defend Life
The Catholic Church in Korea held the "Day for Pro-life" on September 2, 2007 at the Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul and urged the Korean people and government to build the culture of life and to respect human life as the primary value for true social development.
Some 4,000 Catholic and non-Catholic participants included bishops, priests, religious, the laity, representatives from other religions, politicians and government officials. This nation-wide event was co-sponsored by the Headquarters of the Life 31 Movement under the CBCK Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry (President: Most Rev. Jacobus Kim Ji-Seok) and the Life Committee of the Archdiocese of Seoul (President: Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung). The Day featured the Mass for Life, declaration of "Resolutions to Defend Life," and the praying of the rosary in candlelight.
H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, who presided over the day's Mass, said in his homily, "This pro-life Mass and prayer was planned out of our deep concern because we could not be silent before the serious crisis of life in our society. We cannot loosen our commitment to transform the prevailing culture of death to a culture of life. It is time for each of us to seek for what we can do to make our society respect life and to practice it in our daily life. We should have concern over and voice against whatever opposes life."
After the Mass, the participants manifested their commitment to defend the dignity of human life and proclaim the Gospel of life, and called for the government to abandon policies or laws which provoke the anti-life culture. The following is the full text of resolution and request for the government.
<Our Resolutions to Defend Life>
- We always proclaim the Gospel of life.
- We oppose capital punishment, wars and every form of terrorism and violence.
- We oppose research on the cloning of human embryos because it compromises the dignity of human life.
- We positively commit ourselves to defending the dignity of life.
<Our Requests to the Government>
- Do not make use of human life for industrial purposes.
- Abolish immediately the Mother and Child Health Law which encourages abortion.
- Prohibit research on the cloning of human embryos which compromises the dignity of human life.
- Abolish immediately capital punishment.
- Promote policies to encourage natural childbirth rather than artificial childbirth.
* Bishop of Cheongju Calls for Prayers for the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Thomas Choe Yang-eop
In observing September as the Month of Martyrs in Korea, the Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, Bishop of Cheongju, issued an extraordinary message and called for the diocesan faithful to pray for the beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Thomas Choe Yang-eop (1821-1861), the second native priest in Korea.
He said in the message, "There is historic significance in promoting the cause of the beatification of a confessor who devoted his life to serving God and His People and not just martyrs who witnessed to God by shedding their blood."
After explaining the procedures for promoting the cause of beatification and canonization of Father Choe as a confessor, Bishop Chang stressed, "Since 1976, the Diocese of Cheongju has fostered Baithi, the locus of Father Choe's pastoral ministry, as a sacred place. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese in 2008, I wish to ask your prayers for God's grace that Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop, known as the 'Martyr by Sweat' because of his enthusiastic and arduous pastoral ministry, may be enrolled in the rank of the saints. It is my expressed wish that his beatification be solemnly proclaimed in 2011, the 150th anniversary of his death."
With this message, the Diocese of Cheongju is distributing to parishes the text of a prayer for the beatification and canonization of Thomas Choe Yang-eop so as to make widely known his faith and spirit of mission and also to request people to report any miracles through his intercession as a proof of his virtues.
* Caritas Corea Sends Medical and Agricultural Equipments to North Korea
On September 3, 2007, the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Corea" (President: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik) sent an aid shipment to North Korea, the first time since it was designated by the Caritas Internationalis last November as the official channel for North Korean aid program.
The aid shipment included medical and agricultural equipments, such as equipments for X-ray, endoscope, and electrocardiogram and the potato culture medium and reagent, which are valued at 180,000,000 won. It will be delivered to a general hospital and an agricultural science academy in Pyongyang. Caritas bodies in various countries participated in this aid program, including Korea, the U.S.A. and Belgium.
The Rev. Michael Lee Chang-jun, Secretary of the Caritas Corea, presided over the benediction ceremony for the aid goods before they were sent to Nampo Port in North Korea via Incheon Port. He said, "The Catholic Church in Korea and in the world have paid continuous attention and given humanitarian support for North Korea. We sincerely hope this aid program and the love of the Church can be helpful for North Korean brothers and sisters."