CBCK News


Communication on July 25

2009.08.25 10:25


* Catholic Parents Should Recognize the Importance of Baptism of Infants

On July 15, the Committee for Canonical Affairs (President: Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk) of the CBCK made an official recommendation for Catholic parents to recognize the need to arrange baptism for infants, warning against the decreasing rate of baptism of infants. This recommendation was made public via the CBCK website.
According to the Committee, the rate of baptized infants to total Catholics was 0.64 percent (28,075 out of 4,347,605) as of the end of December, 2002.
The low rate of birth may be one of the reasons, the Committee pointed out. But more importantly, more and more parents tend to let children choose their religion by themselves when they grow up.
Offering the ground for baptism of infants from Bible saying, "Unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God"(Jn. 3, 5), the Committee explains that "Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have to be freed from sin and reborn as sons of God through baptism"(cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 1213, 1250).
The Committee also said, "Because they gave life to their children, parents have the most serious obligation and the right to educate them. Therefore, Christian parents should primarily ensure the Christian education of their children in accordance with the teaching of the Church,"(cf. CIC, Can. 226 §2) and stressed the obligation of parents to "arrange baptism of infants as soon as possible, at least within 100 days from the day of the birth" (Pastoral Directory of the Catholic Church in Korea, Dir. 47).
The Committee also suggested: an infant in danger of death is to be baptized without any delay and the infant of non-Catholic parents may be licitly baptized against the will of the parents; a foundling or abandoned child is to be baptized unless the proof of baptism is established; if aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be baptized, even though they are monstrous or deformed (Pastoral Directory of the Catholic Church in Korea, Dirs. 47-50).

* Average Age of the College of Korean Bishops Gets Younger

With the appointment of two new bishops on July 9, the Catholic Church in Korea came to have 22 active bishops and nine retired bishops.
Accordingly, the average age of the college of bishops also lowered to 60.7, with three in their seventies, eight in their sixties, ten in their fifties, and one in his forties. The Most Rev. John Chrisostom Kwon, Bishop of Andong, is the youngest, with the age of 46.
Looking into the year of ordination to priesthood, eight bishops were ordained priest in 1960s, 13 in 1970s and one in 1980s, again the Most Rev. Kwon. One interesting thing is that five bishops were ordained in 1975.
Three bishops were appointed to episcopate in 1970s, two in 1980s, eight in 1990s and nine in 2000s. Noticeably, 15 bishops have been appointed for last ten years, which accounts to 68 percent of 22 bishops.
The bishop who was appointed to episcopate at the youngest age was the Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Archbishop of Taegu. He was appointed bishop at the age of 37, seven years after his ordination to priesthood. Similarly, the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, was appointed bishop nine years after priestly ordination.
The dioceses which have more than two bishops are Seoul (Archbishop and three Auxiliary Bishops), Taegu (Archbishop and one Auxiliary Bishop), Kwangju (Archbishop and one Auxiliary Bishop), Suwon (Bishop and one Auxiliary Bishop) and Taejon (Bishop and Coadjutor Bishop).
As for the alma mater of the bishops, the Catholic University of Seoul produced fourteen bishops and Taegon Major Seminary (predecessor of the Catholic University of Kwangju) produced four. The other bishops graduated from universities abroad.

* Basic Ecclesial Community Life Brings Dynamism to Parishes
The faithful of Sadang-dong parish in Seoul held a 'Faith Convention' on July 17 and pledged to commit themselves to the evangelization and live out the Gospel through the basic ecclesial community life.
The Most Rev. Paul Kim Ok-kyun, retired auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seoul, said in the key address he delivered to over 1000 participants, “The basic ecclesial community movement is a movement to build a faith community where the faithful live in fraternal communion and serve each other in the footsteps of the early Christian community,  and invited the participants to make positive efforts for it.
The participants responded to the call of the bishop with enthusiasm and resolved to commit themselves to revive the Christian life of the Apostolic era and evangelization by living out the ideal of the basic ecclesial community.
"Today's convention is the fruit of the activities led at the basic ecclesial community, that is, transcription of Bible, Bible camp and writing diary of Bible meditation," said Rev. Taegon Andrew Im Sang-man, the pastor.
In the meantime, on July 18, the Jangan-dong parish in Seoul had great joy to welcome 250 lukewarm faithful to the evening Mass who made collective confession and received the Communion. The parishioners welcomed them with heartfelt fraternal joy and reception.
According to the statistics of the parish, 1,700 out of 5,700 faithful are practicing their religion and over 4,000 stopped coming to the Church.
The faithful of Jangan-dong parish, realizing such a critical situation, made 40-day prayer and fasted for the conversion of these lukewarm faithful and visited families and individuals since last February.
Rev. Amatus Im Deuk-il, pastor of Jangan-dong parish, welcomed their return to the Church and wrote off unpaid ecclesial taxes, and encouraged them to rediscover the grace of the baptism.
"I slept for 24 years. It is long enough. I feel very happy. It is as if I returned to my mother's home," said 76-year Magdalena Kim Chun-hee who stayed away from the Church for 24 years.

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