* Seminar on Ecumenism for Asian Bishops' Conferences
The Semianr on Ecumenism for Asian Bishops' Conferences was held at Aaron Retreat House in Uiwang-si, Gyeonggi-do, from July 17 to 21. The seminar has been jointly organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (OEIA) of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK).
Under the theme "The Search for Christian Unity: Where We Stand Today", the seminar provided an opportunity for Asian bishops and others responsible for ecumenical field to reflect on the realities of ecumenical affairs in Asian countries, and to develop effective pastoral approaches, especially with regard to the problem of Pentecostalism.
About 40 representatives from 11 countries attended at the seminar. His Eminence Walter Cardinal Kasper, President of the PCPUC, and the Most Rev. Capalla Fernando, President of the OEIA of the FABC, were the distinguished hosts. And there were also the other prelates responsible for ecumenism from eight Episcopal Conferences of Asia: Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Korea.
On July 18, the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, President of the CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue, chaired the Opening Ceremony and mentioned: "The Christian unity is an important, essential mission of the Church and a calling for all Christians. I hope we can lay a stepping stone for Christian unity through this seminar, resting all our hope on the prayer of Christ for the Church, on our Father's love for us, and on the power of the Holy Spirit" (Unitatis Redintegratio, n.24).
In welcome address, Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan remarked, "Since the Second Vatican Council, the ecumenical movement has made progress. However it still lacks cooperation and dialogue with the Protestants, and therefore we have difficulties with them in regard of the unity." Then he hoped that this seminar would be an opportunity to lead to ever more efforts for the Christian unity.
On the same day, Cardinal Walter Kasper gave a lecture on "Ut Unum Sint and Catholic Principles of Ecumenism" and affirmed, "…ecumenism is the holy duty of the whole Church, of every particular Church in the whole world and the obligation of every individual Christian in every continent. In a particular way ecumenism is the duty and the responsibility of the bishops."
Through this seminar with a series of discussion and workshops, the bishops tried to find a pastoral response to the emerging challenges, particularly the rapid growth of new religious movements (Pentecostal, Evangelical and Charismatic).
* Decree Issued on the Office of Vicar Forane of the Diocese of
On July 14, at Jeongja-dong Cathedral of Suwon, the Most Rev. Paul Choi Deok-ki, Bishop of Suwon, issued a diocesan decree on enforcement of the office of vicar forane and gave written appointments to six Vicars Forane already named in last May: the Rev. Choe Jae-yong of Suwon, the Rev. Kim Yeong-ok of Seongnam, the Rev. Hang Sang-ho of Anyang, Jo Won-kyu of Pyeongtaek, the Rev. Ko Geon-seon of Yongin, the Rev. Kim Han-cheol of Ansan.
The Mass for appointment of Vicars Forane was preceded by a ceremony of professio fidei and solemn oath of loyalty to the Diocesan Bishop at the chapel in the Diocesan curia, in which these first Vicars Forane of the Diocese of Suwon took their oath to dedicate themselves to evangelizing and enlivening the Diocese in accord with the Diocesan Bishop's will.
This promulgation of diocesan decree on the organization of Vicariate corresponds to the decision of the diocesan synod "to animate basic ecclesial communities" (at present) and "to vivify the Christian life of the youth" (in future). So it is expected to be an opportunity to enhance cooperation of the clergy based on the sanctification of priests and promote the participation of the laity to ecclesial activities.
* The 4th Catholic International Stem Cell Symposium
The 4th Catholic International Stem Cell Symposium was held at the Catholic Research Institute of Medical Science of the Catholic University of Korea, in
The Catholic International Stem Cell Symposium was launched in February, 2002, in order for the
This year it attracts attention that the event was jointly organized by the Catholic Institute of Cell Therapy in the Committee for Life of the Archdiocese of Seoul (Head: Cheon Myeong-hoon) and the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology. About 20 adult stem cell experts from , , and the gathered to present their papers.
Prof. Oh Il-hwan, director of the Institute of Cell & Gene Therapy of the
In particular, His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, attended this symposium and reaffirmed the Catholic Church's support for adult stem cell research, saying "I believe that this International Symposium is a significant occasion for the strategic and systematic development of adult cell therapy researches, reinforcing cooperation with domestic and overseas organizations."