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Communications on Dec. 27, 2002

2009.08.24 13:53

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* President-elect Roh Moo-hyun Reveals his View on Catholic Faith

On December 19 presidential election, Roh Moo-hyun of the Millennium Democratic Party was elected the 16th President of Republic of Korea.
His winning in the election deserves to be highly evaluated in that he made out the change of politic generations through election campaign using mass media and the Internet with the slogan of "liquidation of old political practices." Moreover, he is expected to pay more attention to the common people since he himself was from poor farming family and experienced the bitters of poverty.
During the presidential election campaign, he said he was baptized in the Catholic Church but for the present is a lukewarm faithful. In this regard, Rev. Peter Song Gi-in, currently Director of the Research Institute for Diocese of Pusan Church History, confirmed that he baptized Roh in 1986. Roh was christened Justus, and his wife, Adela.
According to Rev. Song, Roh came to be friendly with some Catholics in early 1980s when he advocated the accused of the arson case of the U.S. Embassy in Busan. With the recommendation of Rev. Song, he decided to be a Catholic but could not faithfully receive the catechesis for initiation due to busy life. Thus, Rev. Song refused to confer the baptism on him, but he was baptized anyway under the condition of receiving special follow-ups of then the pastor Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo(presently, the Bishop of Pusan).
In this regard, President-elect Roh told Pyonghwa Weekly(Catholic Newspaper), "whenever the question of the baptism comes up, I feel very embarrassed. In the past, I was the kind of person who pursued reason and logic and was far from being a believer. However, as I went through sorts of unexpected things, I came to believe the existence of God and that He has control over human affairs. So I was baptized but I have not lived sincere Christian life. I think I need to have confession first. But one thing I can say clearly is that I believe in the Providence of God. Though I could not go back to the Church yet, I hope to do so someday."
Meanwhile, His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan said in a press conference, "I hope President-elect Roh, as he is now welcomed by many people, can make people regret five years after at the end of his presidency," and wished him, "to be a good and reliable President so that the trust of people in politicians can be restored in Korean society."
The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, also congratulated Roh and asked him to make efforts for the harmonization and prosperity of the nation.
Korean Catholics congratulated Roh and asked him to realize the will of God through politics, especially harmony and unity between classes, generations and regions; reconciliation of Sourth and North Korea; establishment of eqaul partnership with the allies, especially with the United States; amendment of the Korea-U.S. SOFA(Status of Forces Agreement); to promote culture of life; to realize policies that take care of the weak and the poor in the society etc.
President-elect Roh starts his presidency on February 25, 2003.

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