CBCK News


Communication on Aug. 1

2009.08.25 10:26


* Diocesan Committees for Justice & Peace Issue a Statement to Mark the 50th Armistice Anniversary

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the armistice agreement of the 1950-1953 Korean War on July 27, the Committees for Justice & Peace of 13 dioceses issued a joint statement titled "Hoping for a Peace Agreement" and strongly stressed the need to change the current system of armistice agreement into that of peace agreement.
This statement is significant since all dioceses in the Catholic Church in Korea participated except two where the Committee for Justice & Peace has not established yet, the Diocese of Chunchon and Military Ordinariate. They made clear the position of the Church on peace agreement and made public the movements of prayer and practice the Church organizes for this purpose.
The signers including Rev. John Lee Gi-wu, President of the Committee for Justice & Peace of the Archdiocese of Seoul, said, "We here declare that to pursue peace is the only way to live, restore the humanity and practice love," and urged to create environment where "the parties concerned, namely, South and North Korea can make efforts for settlement of peace through dialogue and move from the armistice agreement to peace agreement."
They continued, "All people want peace and the Church, 'expert in humanity' (Encyclical letter Sollicitudo rei socialis, n. 41) has special duty to make peace by virtue of love, the new commandment," and called for deeper and more positive intervention and effort of the Church for the issues of peace.
"Whatever the reason of present crisis in the Korean Peninsula is, it should be resolved peacefully, not by violence," and "South and North Korea should conduct the agreed promises and actions with faithfulness and patience for mutual trust, reconciliation and cooperation," they stressed.
Rev. Lee said, "Remembering the Holy Father's asking to pray for peace, we should have continuous concern in peace and try to share the suffering of our North Korean brothers and sisters."
This campaign for peace will continue with a seminar on August 4 as well as 12 times of candlelight prayer meetings wishing peace in the Korean Peninsula and in the world.

* Committee for Abolishing the Capital Punishment to Take Further Step

The Committee for Abolishing the Capital Punishment under the Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. John Choi Young-soo) of the CBCK decided at its July meeting to give an impetus to the campaign to abolish the capital punishment by making diversified efforts in diverse domains.
As part of the program, the participants agreed to invite prominent international experts of human rights including Secretary General of "Hands Off Cain", international league of citizens and lawmakers for the abolition of the death penalty, and Secretary General of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and rouse public opinion on anti-capital punishment at home and abroad; to visit President Roh Moo-hyun and convey to him the position of the religious world in regard of the issue before the opening of the National Assembly session in September; to look for effective ways to rouse public opinion on the issue and to diffuse news on anti-capital punishment campaign, activity, stories of condemned criminals by email(mailing service) newsletter; to provide substantial pastoral care for victims' families.
"The fact that the pastoral care for the victims' families is under discussion reflects gradual progress of anti-capital punishment campaign," said Rev. Paul Lee Chang-young, Undersecretary of the CBCK, and added "tireless efforts are required to make further step of progress toward genuine respect for life."

* Diocese of Pusan and Diocese of Kaohsiung Establish Sisterhood Relationship

On July 20, the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo, Bishop of Pusan, visited the Most Rev. Paul Shan Quo-hsi, Bishop of Kaohsiung, Taiwan and established sisterhood relationship and promised pastoral collaboration between the two dioceses.
The Diocese of Kaohsiung, second big port-city of Taiwan, has 55 parishes and 46,000 faithful as of the end of 2000, but out of them merely about 10,000 faithful attend Sunday Mass. Among 98 priests, more than half of them are religious priests and the average age of priests is 65. Because of this poor situation, the Church has had difficulty in fulfilling her mission of evangelization and pastoral work.
By establishing this sisterhood relationship, the Diocese of Pusan expects to vitalize its counterpart diocese and help it by sending missionaries and providing necessary helps and to prepare a bridgehead of mission to China.

* Joint Visit to North Korea Stirs the Efforts for Reconciliation of Korean People

With the initiative of the Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People (President: Most Rev. Luke Kim Woon-hoe) of the CBCK, the representatives of the Committees for the Reconciliation of Korean People of each diocese made a five-day visit to North Korea from July 29 to August 2.
The visiting delegation was composed of representatives from all dioceses, which indicates that the activities of each diocese to give aid and build cooperative relations with North Korea are streamlined with the hub of the Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People of the CBCK.
During the visit, the delegation discussed the future aid to North Korea with Mr. Samuel Jang Jae-eon, the Chairperson of Association of North Korean Catholics, and checked the distribution of aid already delivered.
Earlier, the Committee of Seoul made a six-day visit to North Korea from July 17 and looked around three noodle factories to check the distribution of wheat flour they sent last April.
Rev. Jerome Chang Geung-seon, Vice-chairman of the Committee, said, "We are trying to help the North Korean brethren for their self-support not just to give short-term or one-time food aid," and "for real meaning of sharing, the future visits to North Korea should be opportunities to understand their substantial needs."

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