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The 19th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Colloquium

2014.02.06 09:41

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The 19th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Colloquium was held with the theme 'Encyclical Pacem in Terris' in Nagoya City in Japan, from November 12 to 14, 2013. Along with the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the CBCK and Bishop of Cheju, and the Most Rev. Peter Takeo Okada, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) and Archbishop of Tokyo, 49 bishops and priests participated in this colloquium.


The first session was held at a conference room of Kanajawa New Grand Hotel on November 12, 2013. Fr. Juan Masia, SJ, Professor emeritus at Sophia University in Tokyo, gave a lecture on the background of the promulgation of Pacem in Terris. According to Fr. Masia the decisive reason for the promulgation of Pacem in Terris was the confrontation between the USA and the former USSR, which was escalated by the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Fr. Masia said that Pope John XXIII, by sending a peace message to the two world leaders at that time, tried to act as a peacemaker between them. He reiterated especially the need for the formation of priests who can read the signs of the times through the study of the history of the world and the Church, as we are witnessing many unprecedented threats to peace, even though we now have enough resources to realize the peace of the world.


In the second session on November 13, 2013, Most Rev. Linus Lee Seong-hyo, Auxiliary Bishop of Suwon, gave a lecture with the theme "Pacem in Terris - an actual advice up to now". Bishop Lee said that Pacem in Terris presupposed the cooperation between Christians and non-Christians through the goodwill of individuals, as well as the openness of the Church for all the desires of the modern world which is called the 'signs of the times'. Bishop Lee said that the actual viability of Pacem in Terris rests on the fact that it suggests dialogue, negotiation, and solidarity to solve the many conflicts and disputes which are still challenging us.


In the afternoon, the bishops visited the historical site on Mr. Takayama Ukon, whose beatification is now in process by the CBCJ. The bishops also paid a visit to the Nodayama Cemetery where Mr. Youn Bong-gil, a Korean patriot in the era of Japanese colonial rule, was secretly buried by the Japanese authorities. The bishops offered flowers to the soul of Mr. Youn.


In the evening the bishops celebrated Mass at Kanajawa church, which was presided over by Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, Apostolic Nuncio in Japan, Bishop Kang U-il, President of the CBCK, and Bishop Augustine Nomura Junich, Bishop of Nagoya.


In the morning of November 14, 2013, the bishops had time for group discussion on Pacem in Terris and on the theme of the next colloquium. The bishops voiced with one accord that the Church should take the initiative in the reconciliation of Korea, Japan, and China, in the midst of escalating conflict caused by territorial disputes and unsettled historical enmity.


Before the closing of the colloquium, the bishops issued a joint statement and agreed upon the special prayer and collection campaign for the Catholic Church in the Philippines which suffered great damage from the recent typhoon.


The next colloquium will be held in Korea in November, 2014.


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