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Communication on October 14, 2005

2009.08.27 10:30

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* First Korean Catholic Bible Seonggyeong Published

The Korean translation of the Bible for Catholics was first published since the introduction of the Catholic Church to Korea 220 years ago. On October 10, 2005, on the occasion of the opening of the 2005 Autumn General Assembly, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea held a ceremony to celebrate the publication of Seonggyeong. Among some 200 participants were Catholic biblical scholars, Korean language experts who cooperated in the Bible translation, and Protestant leaders.

The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, President of the CBCK, said in his welcoming address, "The Bible is the Word of God written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I believe that 17 years of our efforts for this translation also has been guided by the Holy Spirit. …… I hope the Christian life of Korean Catholics can be more vitalized and renewed by using this Seonggyeong in the sacred liturgy, lectio divina, Bible studies and daily prayers. 'The Word became flesh and lived among us' (Jn 1:14). Now, we must live out this Word."

Following this, congratulatory addresses were given by His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim, by the Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Chung Chul-bum, Primate of Korea & Bishop of Seoul of the Anglican Church, and by Rev. Paik Do-woong, General Secretary of the (Protestant) National Council of Churches in Korea, and by Rev. Min Young-jin, General Secretary of the Korean Bible Society.

Cardinal Kim said, "Now, with this Korean translation, God can come closer to us as the Word of Life. The Bible is not a simple book, but it feeds and nurtures us as the Word of Life. Therefore, we Christians take this Word as spiritual food and conform ourselves to Him more and more." He also remembered and thanked the late Rev. Joseph Im Seung-pil, who devoted his life to the translation of the Bible and passed away in 2003.

On the other hand, Rev. Min pointed out some important changes from the previous ecumenical translation, including the title of Seonggyeong itself and changing "Yahweh" to "Junim" (Lord), and added, "I am sure that Seonggyeong, though translated by only Catholics, will make great contribution to the history of the Bible translation in Korea."

After the congratulatory remarks, the President of the CBCK presented Seonggyeong to Cardinal Kim, Rev. Min from the Korean Bible Society, Archbishop Chung from the Anglican Church, Rev. Paik from the NCCK, and Mr. Im Se-gang, father of the late Rev. Im Seung-pil, in token of gratitude.

The Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyok-ju, President of the CBCK Biblical Committee, offered thanks to all those who collaborated in the translation and publication of Seonggyeong.

In the process of translation, Seonggyeong gave priority to faithfulness to the biblical text to overcome the limits of the previous ecumenical translation which was easy to read and understand but somewhat deviated from the biblical text. Through dozens of meetings to read through and compare the Hebrew and Greek texts and elaborate Korean expressions, the translators and editors tried on one hand to make Seonggyeong faithful to the biblical text and on the other to deliver the Word of God in elegant style of contemporary Korean language.

* CBCK Executive Secretary Receives the Catholic Academic Award

On October 6, 2005, the Committee for Catholic Academic Award under the Catholic Times held the 9th Catholic Academic Award ceremony and granted this year's award to the Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man, Executive Secretary of the CBCK, who wrote a book titled The Kingdom of God, which illuminates the Kingdom of God from various theological perspectives.

Along with him, Dr. Leo Hwang Jong-ryeol, the Chairman of the Evangelization Committee of the Future Pastoral Institute, was also designated as the winner of the 5th Catholic Research Award for his academic efforts to seek for a way to be faithful both to the Korean tradition and to the Christian identity.

At the ceremony, the Rev. Cho said, "I think that God allowed this award to me to tell me not to neglect my study while working for the episcopal conference." He continued, "'The Kingdom of God' is the essence of Jesus' mission and of His proclamation of the Gospel. It is also the essential mission and first challenge for us Christians to seek. With Jesus, the Kingdom of God started 'hic et nunc.' Though the seed of the Kingdom of God has already been sown on the ground and is growing, it is 'not yet' accomplished. Prayer is the most prominent means to realize the Kingdom of God."

Dr. Hwang said, "I have always thought that theological study is a gift for me. So, this award is another gift to the gift. I thank first of all God and the Church. I take this award as the encouragement to faithfully walk the way of lay theologians following the footstep of Mr. Yang Han-mo."

The Catholic Academic Award was instituted by the Catholic Times in 1997 to commemorate the lay theologian Yang Han-mo.

*  Cardinal Kim Expresses Opposition to the Embryonic Stem Cell Research

His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan had a special interview with the Catholic Times on September 28, 2005, regarding some important bioethical issues, in particular, the question of embryonic stem cell research which recently became controversial due to Dr. Hwang Woo-suk's research of human embryonic stem cells.

In this interview, he affirmed the principle that human embryos are clearly human life with dignity and accordingly he expressed opposition to the human embryonic stem cell research which destroys human embryos.

He opened the conversation saying, "I would like to express my respect and appreciation for scientists and doctors who make their best effort day and night for treatment of diseases and scientific development. In particular, Dr. Hwang is known to be a world-famous excellent scientist, despite some controversies."

He continued, "However, to my great regret, we cannot just applaud the achievement of Dr. Hwang, especially, regarding human embryonic stem cells research. In the Catholic Church in Korea, already many Bishops and life ethicists have rightly expressed opposition to such research. One thing I want to stress here is the clear principle of dignity of human life."

"Some people consider the opposition of the Church a conflict between 'religion and science', but I do not think so. To regard human embryos as a human life is not a religious doctrine or belief but it belongs to the fundamental and universal ethics," he stressed.

Regarding the Law on Life Ethics and Safety, against which the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches in Korea filed a constitutional petition, Cardinal Kim said, "It is regrettable because a law became an object of constitutional petition although it took much time and effort of many people to prepare and make the law. However, a law can be amended if it is irrational or erroneous. In my opinion, the most fundamental principle of legislation is to defend human rights. If a law violates the most fundamental right, that is, the right to life, it commits a critical error."

He concluded, "A collapsed building can be reconstructed. It is not so difficult. However, if sense of values and dignity of life collapse, it will be very difficult to restore them. Even if it is invisible, we should first defend the value of life, which will sustain our society and lead us to the right path."



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