CBCK News


Communications on Mar. 23, 2001

2009.08.24 10:51


◎Seoul Priests Urge Government Immediate Stop of Saemangum Reclamation Project

Priests of Seoul Archdiocese's social pastoral ministry formed a committee to countermeasure against the Saemangum reclamation project and held a urgent press conference at Myongdong cathedral's conference room on March 19th and demanded the government to stop immediately the controversial project of Saemangum reclamation.
"Government's plan to pass the Saemangun reclamation project without people's consensus is wrong and against a democracy," they insisted.
Through the statement, they asserted that "we worry about the government's policy to press ahead with the plan based on the political calculations and regional interests," and demanded that "the government to delay its final decision set for the end of this month in order to conduct further examination of the project with transparency and objectivity."
The Most Rev. Peter Kang, the Episcopal Vicar for Social Pastoral Field, recommended the priests in social pastoral ministry to make a clear position of the Seoul Archdiocese concerning the controversial project.

Meantime, on March 19th, the Korean Priests' Association for Justice and the Korean Catholic Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious formed a coalition against the Saemangum reclamation project with over 200 environmental civic groups (Joint representative: Rev. Moon Kyu-hyon) and launched the Peace and Life Solidarity to Keep Saemangum Alive.
The newly launched Coalition demanded the government to stop the project and to make a swift announcement of the future direction of the project to avoid any further unnecessary conflict and distrust."
. The Coalition members asked the government to respect the opinion of the Environment Minister, Kim Myong-ja , a Catholic, and the Maritime- Fisheries Minister who have voiced doubts about the success of the project.
Some members of the above mentioned religious people and Catholic women's echo-solidarity declared hunger strike.
Prior to this, on March 14th, about 500 representatives including priests, nuns and monks held a prayer service at Chogye-sa Temple in central Seoul and made a public statement against the Saemangum project and marched toward Myongdong Cathedral.
While the civic and religious circles were in protest against the Presidential Commission on Sustainable Development (PCSD) in a press conference held on March 22nd and asked the government to reexamine the controversial Saemangum reclamation project to assess its negative impact on the environment.
"The government should delay its final decision set by the end of this month in order to conduct further examination of the project," said the PCSD.
"As the joint inspection team's analysis of the economic benefits of the project is lacking in objectivity and an accuracy, we need to thoroughly reexamine all aspects of the project,'' said PCSD
Other important issues such as the usage of the reclaimed land, as well as alternative measures in case of the project's suspension should also be discussed openly with the public, the panel stressed.
The Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), in a press release on March 22nd, urged the government to instantly accept the committee's proposal, as it supports the views that numerous environmentalists and people from religious circles have voiced over the issue.
Initiated in 1991, the project aims at turning 40,100 hectares of mud flats in the Saemangum region of Jeollabuk-do into 28,300 hectares of farmland, as well as using a freshwater lake for irrigation purposes.
But environmentalists have continued to call for the suspension of the project, claiming it will result in severely harming of the environment, such as the precious tidal flats in the region.

◎Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Churches Plan to Have a Joint Worship Service on Easter Sunday

Representatives from Catholics and KNCC(Korean National Council of Churches) and Orthodox held a meeting on March 20th and decided to have a joint Easter Sunday worship service on April 15th, at 15:00.
Such a project is the first one in its kind in Korea.
"The good opportunity of common worship is given to us because the Easter Sunday of the three Christian denomination falls on the same day." they said.

◎ Cheongju Diocese Launched Mission Campaign to Make Ten Thousand of New Catholics

On March 13th, the Most Rev. Gabriel Chang, Bishop of Cheongju, announced the mission campaign to make ten thousand of new Catholics at the Catholic Center with all members of the clergy council, presidents of the parish pastoral councils and leaders of the diocesan organizations, religious and laity.
At the campaign inauguration ceremony the Most Rev. Chang insisted on the need of conversion in his message with theme of "mission is love" by saying that "When we are evangelized our neighbors are evangelized. Therefore we have to endeavor to convert and transform ourselves first with humility," and said "announcing the Gospel is announcing love."
The campaign made following referring points: for mission, I have to become a person of prayer first; I have to be a leader of evangelization by being light of the world; to dedicate myself fully to practice of love because mission is loving our neighbors.
For the campaign the diocese has made year-long plans to be implemented.
Most Rev. Chang made guidelines for the catechumens' education focused on Bible; to take the Bible with from the first class of catechism and make a habit of reading Bible every day; to attend to Sunday Mass and say essentail Christian prayers; to make Rosary a part of everyday life; to choose godparents from the beginning of the Christian life and catechism so that they can be accompanied in their journey from the starting point of Christian life etc.
The campaign's main objective is to raise the rate of Catholics to 10 percent of the population.
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