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Communications on Nov. 9, 2001

2009.08.24 11:55

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* The Synod Presents the Church that Gives the Hope to the World

Interview with Archbishop Andrew Choi who Participated in the Synod of Bishops

  The Most Rev. Andrew Choi, Archbishop of Kwangju, has been to Rome to participate in the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 27 in the Vatican. He summarized the Synod in some words by saying that "the Synod offered opportunity to discuss diverse matters regarding the episcopate in the light of the spirit of Vatican Council II. It was a significant meeting to reflect once more on the spirit of the Council and to open the 21th century as well". He also said that during the Synod he could deeply understand and share various opinions and experiences of the episcopal ministry."  "I felt as if I were in a retreat," he said.

What do you think about the meaning of this Synod of Bishops?
- The meaning of this Synod of Bishops was to reconfirm the "door of the Church" opened by the Vatican Council II and to reflect on the life of Church since it. The Council has awakened the self-awareness in and out of the Church that is, the Church forms one body with Christ, therefore, she has to be united in one body; Church is called to give life and hope to the world by participating to death and resurrection of Christ;  Church can give hope to the world only when she shares the life of Christ with it. In this light the bishops sincerely reflected the realities of the Church and examined whether she had been fulfilling properly her mission or not. "Is she really united and serving for the hope of the world?"
The the Synod of Bishops have sequentially dealt with the laity(1987), the priests(1990) and the consecrated life(1994) while this assembly addressed the questions of bishops who unite the entire People of God composed of the laity, the clergy and the consacrated people. In this sense, this Synod of the Bishops concluded the Vatican Council II by preparing the 21th century.

During the Synod, the questions of communion and poverty were highlighted. In this regard, in what points do you think the Church in Korea should reflect on herself?
- Communion and poverty are inseparable elements. The Father sent us his Son so that we could participate in the communion of the Trinity and the Son invite us to the divine communion by emptying himself in poverty. Thus, poverty is inseparable from the Church, the mystical body of Christ. The Church in Korea also should live out the poverty by sharing each other what we have by following the example of the community in early Church. And this sharing should be extended to the poorer churches in the world by persisting it to the Church in Korea. It is important to remember that all that we have is not ours but entrusted to us to be shared for the salvation of brothers and sisters. We should reflect on ourselves whether we are living in this spirit and attitudes."

- The Synod seems to have stressed the relation between the Universal Church and particular Churches. Would you give some explanation on this?

Each country has a province and a national Episcopal Conference and sometimes several churches form one regional Episcopal Conference. And there are also continental Episcopal Conferences. We, the bishops frankly and sincerely discussed how to animate the function of Episcopal Conferences in all levels and to realize solidarity and collaboration among them and what role the Apostolic See has to play for this purpose. As ongoing formation is required for the bishops as well as for the priests, the solidarity among regional Episcopal Conferences should be promoted. We also talked about the question of Episcopal College as well as individual bishops."

About what subject did you make your presentation at the Assembly?

  My presentation was about 'The Mission of Bishops in Particular Churches'.  I suggested five points for bishops to reflect on by mentioning the devotion of martyrdom as the foundation of the Church in Korea. First, the bishops, as Successors of Apostles, and as pastors of the Church who has responsibility to  take care of her, should live lives similar to that of Christ. Second, the bishops themselves should live a hopeful life first so that they can give hope to the world. Third, bishops should be the hope of the world by giving himself to the world in conviction that giving makes him happier than receiving, which is also connected with the spirituality of martyrdom. Fourth, we, bishops should live out of the force of God and by counting on Him, not frustrated by our weakness. Finally, we should fix our eyes on the Lord who, walking on the water, said to Peter 'Do not be afraid'".
Archbishop Andrew Choi noted that he was very impressed by the Pope who led the Assembly despite of his advanced age and physical condition.    


* Rev. Kwon Hyok-ju Appointed as Bishop of Andong

  Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyok-ju, presently a professor of Dogmatic Theology at Daegu Catholic University, was appointed as the third diocesan bishop.
  The Diocese of Andong, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea and the Apostolic Nunciature in Korea announced this appointment of the Pope John Paul II on Oct. 31.
  The Diocese of Andong announced episcopal ordination and installation for Dec. 4th. A preparatory committee for the ordination was formed with Rev. Leo Kim, vicar general of the diocese, as the chairman, and decided to distribute the text of "Prayer for the New Bishop of Andong" so that all the faithful of the diocese can be united in prayers for him.
  The newly appointed Bishop Kwon was born in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983 after graduation from Kwangju Catholic University. From 1984 to 1990, he studied dogmatic theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris, France, and after returning home, he served as pastoral administrator of the Diocese of Andong. Since 1997, he has been committed himself to the formation of future priests and taught theology at Daegu Catholic University.
  "Origin from Andong myself, I am well aware of the situation there. So I will do my best to give the faithful hope and encourage them to love each other and to have pride as Catholics", he said and added "I want to  realize reconciliation of people through the peace of Christ."
  He selected "Christus, pax nostra" as his motto, saying that "Only the peace of Christ can bring about real unity in this world suffering of wars and divisions".
  The episcopal see of the Diocese of Andong has been vacant for almost one year since the Most Rev. Ignatius Pak Sok-hi passed away last year.


* Korean Women Religious to Send Emergency Aids to Afghan Refugees

  The Korean Catholic Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious decided unanimously to send emergency aids to Afghan refugees in suffering under U.S.A.-led anti-terrorism military action at its 34th plenary assembly held at the Aaron Retreat House in Uiwang-Si, from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.
  The participants also agreed to carry out a peace campaign and a prayer meeting for peace at Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul beginning Nov. 12 until the U.S.A. stops its military attacks against the Afghanistan and to organize a chain-prayer movement for peace involving nationwide religious communities.
  An appeal letter was sent to the U.S.A. Congress and President Bush asking to put an end to the violence.
  The emergency aids which will include medical supplies, food and other living necessities will be sent via the International Union of Superior Generals in Rome, Sr. Michaela Park, President of the Association, said.
  Besides the peace campaign, the participants took resolution to extend their committment to various issues regarding the social justice, environmental protection and promotion of women's rights by participating to all-out struggle against Saemangum reclamation project, campaign to stop the government's project for additional construction of nuclear plants, campaign to abolish the householder system in which only the male has right to be the head of a family.
  75 representatives from 45 institutes of women religious participated in the plenary assembly.
  Total number of women religious in Korea amounts to 8,752 from 93 religious institutes.


* Campaign for Prompt Enactment of Bioethics Law Moves Further

  The Coalition for Prompt Enactment of Bioethics Law launched campaign to collect one million signatures on Oct. 30 as the government has failed to introduce the Bioethics law bill to the 2001 October session of the National Assembly as it had promised with people.
  The first step of the Coalition formed by 69 civic groups including the Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK and different religion organizations is to collect one million signatures and to present them to the government, the National Assembly and each political party.
  The Coalition plans to carry out the second step of the campaign from the beginning of next year until the bill is presented to the National Assembly session slated for March, 2002.
  The Bioethics law bill deals with the ban of human cloning; protection of human embryo; ban of gene manipulation, respect for laboratory animals' rights to life, ban of immoral patent regarding bio-technology and the establishment of the national committee for Bioethics etc.* The Synod Presents the Church that Gives the Hope to the World

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